Tuesday, November 17, 2009

To See What I Might See

Dreamland Express album cover

You can blame John Denver, he's the one who got me started. Well, that's not strictly true, but it sounds good to say. For years, his identity was tied to long hair and granny glasses. Then came the Dreamland Express album in the mid-80s and with it, shorter hair and yes, contact lenses.

I've worn glasses since age nineteen and while I won't tell you precisely how long that's been, let's just say my first pair had glass lenses and turtle-shell frames. I'll let you do the math. Anyhow, then came the miracle of plastic and gone were the days of pushing glasses off the end of my nose every five minutes.

Why not get contacts? Well, that's complicated. For one thing, I've always had a thing about putting anything in my eyes, and that must have frustrated the dickens out of every optometrist who tried to get drops into them. For another, contacts never came in my prescription. So, even if I could have tolerated wearing them, there weren't any I could have used in the first place.

But now we have soft contacts and that's had me thinking. Maybe I could, at long last, cease viewing the world from behind what I've come to regard as a pair of windows, and be in the world, less an observer and more a participant. I certainly felt that way whenever I left my glasses on the desk, but the problem was, I couldn't see well enough to keep from getting in trouble. Besides, my distance vision was blurry, and it's hard to be engaged when you can't see what's coming down the road.

So, today was my day. During my frequently less than regular exam, I told my doctor if he could fit me in a pair, I was determined to make them work. After about 45 minutes of sweating through learning how to insert and remove them, I drove away feeling like John must have felt in the summer of his 27th year, coming home to a place he'd never been before.

I hadn't planned on writing about this experience but it feels so good, keeping it to myself seems selfish. It's not anything transcendent, it's just been a long time in coming and I'm glad I finally got up the nerve to take the step and see what I might see.

(Dreamland Express album cover, copyright 1985, Rocky Mountain High copyright 1975, both owned by the estate of John Denver, image via Wikipedia)
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