Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I have a lazy eye. Yes it’s not enough that I am a lazy person, I have to have individually lazy parts. My parents first noticed it wandering when I was a baby and I had my first pair of specs by eighteen months old. The first week I got them mum made everyone else in the family wear sunglasses so I didn’t feel different. Although I probably would have been right to feel different. The glasses styles of the 80’s coupled with my no-fuss bowl cut hairdo left me looking like a cross between Roy Orbison and Elton John. I was so young my Mum had to tie them onto my head with a piece of wool so I didn’t lose them in the sandpit.

NOTE: Yes the photo above is actually me…

Despite my appearance I got through my bespectacled childhood relatively unscathed. Except for the odd incident like when a ball hit me in the face during sport or a big boy called me four-eyes and made me cry. That was until I reached fourteen. Having just been fitted with braces I developed a Paul-Pfeiffer-from-the-wonder-years complex. I was acutely aware that I was now one of those braces AND glasses kids and this did not bode well for me socially. Around that time my glasses accidently broke and I miraculously found I got by fine without them. All the years of constant spec-wearing in childhood had largely corrected my vision.

Paul Pfeiffer

All was dandy until my mid-twenties when I started working full-time at a publishing company. I soon learned that office work kills a lot more than just your spirit, it also kills your eyesight. I had to work in front of a computer for eight hours every day. They recommend to protect your eyesight in these situations that you look away from the screen at something far away every ten to fifteen minutes. However I worked in a cubicle and the only way I could access distance was to turn right around in my chair and stare at a patch of wall behind me. Unfortunately there was a co-worker who I didn’t know very well sitting right in front of that bit of wall and things got rather awkward. I had to stop this practise before they complained to human resources about my creepy behaviour.

 

By the time I left my eyesight had decreased by about half and got steadily worse over the next couple of years until I could no longer see a metre in front of me. I kept trying to get by without glasses. At the bus stop I became one of those annoying people that asks other commuters when the next bus is coming, rather than just looking at the timetable. Whenever people I knew saw me on the street I would just frown and keep walking. When I went out I would always wait for people to say hello to me first. All because I couldn’t see! I was a modern day Ms Magoo.

Finally I bit the bullet and went to get glasses. Even though I am a ‘sophisticated’ lady of twenty-eight the old schoolyard mentality came flooding back. I don’t want to be a four-eyes. Glasses just didn’t go with my outfits! But now I had another option. Contact lenses.

I sat down for my contact lesson brimming with the enthusiasm of the ignorant. Pfffft stupid lesson this will be a piece of cake, just bung em on my eyeballs I thought.

I was wrong. Oh so very wrong. The thing about contacts is you have to have your eyes open to put them in. The thing about eyes is when you put stuff near them they close involuntarily. This is the conundrum. The nice young optician sat across from me all smiles and enthusiasm and encouragement.

“Ok so you hold your top eyelid like so, then pull the bottom one down like this and then pop the contact in.”

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

“Never mind just pick it up. Hooold your eye like this. Put it on the very tip of your finger. And pop it in.”

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

“That’s ok it takes everyone a few goes. Now just pop it in.”

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

“Yep ok make sure your finger’s not too wet.”

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I started off very polite and upbeat. “Oh golly gosh silly me I seem to have dropped it. Never mind. One more go and I’ll have it.”

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I began to feel the pressure.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

Meanwhile a small child that looked pretty much like me circa 1986 (see above) had been plonked in the waiting area about a metre and a half from where I was sitting. And boy could she stare. Fascinated by my constant attempts and failures she stared unflinchingly at me through her coke-bottle lenses like I was santa doing the hula.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I began to feel the rage welling.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I laughed nervously.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

“That kid’s staring at me” I whispered.

“Mmm haha yep ok now pick it up and try again” said perky optician.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I began to lose my cool. “Jesus does anyone ever just give up and go home?” I asked.

“No, no everyone gets it eventually.” Cooed upbeat optician girl.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I wanted to cry. No wait that will make my eyeballs too lubricated. Don’t cry you halfwit. Just stick it in! The more determined I got the less it helped. I began launching my finger at my face like a javelin, hoping that if I did it quick enough I could get it in before my eye closed. After about 20 minutes perky optician girl ran out of helpful tips and began reeling off lacklustre encouraging phrases.

“You can do it…. Almost had it that time…. Keep trying.”

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

FAARRRRRK!

Finally she called over the optometrist and after another ten minutes of trying he finally got them in for me. Then with much ado we had to get them out again. I have always hated not being able to do things so by the time I left I felt like a complete failure. Lots of people I know wear them. Some of them are not even very smart why can’t I do it?

I was sent home with about fifty disposable lenses that I now feel obligated to wear because I paid for them. They sit on my shelf and taunt me daily. I have had them a month and only attempted to wear them a few times. Those who live with me know when I am trying to get them in because of the yelling, swearing and door kicking that can be heard throughout the house. But I will persevere. I will learn to get those bastards in even if I blind myself trying. The price of not looking like Roy Orbison is a high one.

 

 

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