Last week, for the first time ever, I set foot in an opticians. Getting my eyes tested had been on my rolling ‘to do’ list for the past ten years but as my vision had always been fine it was one of those constantly deferred tasks. But recently, as I began to get headaches when reading and using my computer, it seemed that the time had now come. Uh oh. Not great when one is about to plunge oneself into the booky world of academia.
After several years of living with a paranoid housemate for whom a slight sore throat was a clear indication of advanced cancer and for whom a cough was always TB, by the time I got to Specsavers I was convinced that my headaches were flagging up a serious eye condition and the onset of imminent blindness. I probably should’ve gone with my instinct though: that it’s just a sign of getting old and of life taking its toll. Glasses for reading and computer work were duly prescribed.
Obviously I went to Specsavers. Years and years of advertising have worked their way into my psyche making it the only opticians I could actually name. I knew that there I could get two pairs for the price of one which, given my propensity to misplace sunglasses and umbrellas etc, is a definite advantage. And, more importantly, I don’t want to be the person who shaves their sheepdog rather than their sheep just because their eyesight is bad and they should have gone to Specsavers. Or, heaven forbid, the girl who meets her boyfriend off a train and ends up snogging an old man on the platform instead. Not that either of these scenarios is exactly relevant right now, but one must be prepared.
I left Specsavers having discovered that I have a narrow face and therefore look a bit stupid in all the glasses that had featured in my mental romanticised scenario of the brainy-looking glasses-wearing me sitting in a London coffee shop drinking a flat white and digesting clever stuff from the odd tome or two. I also left having had a nice chat with the sales assistant who, it turned out, had just finished a degree in Economics and Law and who had come to the UK as an unaccompanied child from Bulgaria quite a few years before. Who’d have thought it.
I left feeling reassured that even if I don’t understand the words I read in the coming months, at least I’ll be able to see them. That said, I realise as I write this that my glasses as still in my handbag and the next hurdle will be to remember to wear them. Here’s hoping that my memory holds out a bit better than my eyesight.