Monday, September 17, 2012

Clearly, now

For the past several months I have been walking around with a virtual sign on my forehead: Dweebs more!

Okay, maybe the sign was situated more over my eyes in all its wire-rimmed, reflective, come hither glory. No actual words proclaiming my identity - just scratched, scraped, smudged lenses strongly hinting at it in mangled frames, bent so far out of shape that they hung at a 45 degree angle on my face.

I wasn't trying to blow my cover as a sophisticated, learned woman of the world. I mean I do know it's possible to look classy and cultured in glasses, but it's not possible if you're a parent. Wearing spectacles as a mom is like affixing a nice, bold target on your person.

The danger is always there, present in my four rambunctious children. Eventually, a toddler is going to come jumping off the couch or a block, elbow, knee or light saber is going to come whistling through the air, and BAM! My brown, simple frames are going to be smashed into my face, nose pads embedded in tear ducts and the bridge driven into the bone between my brows, leaving a permanent indentation. When I recover from my slight concussion and examine the frames to find that they did in fact make it, I know - oh I know! - that it will only be a matter of time until the next scary, humiliating incident. And the next time we might not be so lucky, my frames and I. The threats to our demure nerddom are ever present.

So when the kids landed on my face for the 3700th time recently, I buried it in my hands and went radio silent for several moments as they huddled around, begging to know if I was going to pull through. I wanted to keep them guessing, make an impression. But of course I rallied, probably because I'm a Super Dweeb with the power to overcome being slammed in the face with glasses thousands of times before I eventually - I'm guessing - implode or fly to the nearest Lasik specialist.

You can imagine, though, that after those multiple collisions my frames were twisted like Ebenezer Scrooge's heart, the lenses were ingloriously scratched, and the world around me had lots of confusing dots and lines through it. So while trying to wrangle the frames back into proper alignment for a few weeks, I complained to the one who took the oath to bear all of my complaints.

Until one day he brilliantly yelled, "Just go get new glasses!"

I did. The frames I picked out were more stylish than my usual dull brown ovals, with a hint of blue at the side, and also more delicate because I'm a vain nerd who hungers for punishment.

They are also just slightly lopsided on my face, tilted lower over my right eye, but that's alright. You see, last time I got new glasses I discovered something about myself. I noticed they rested unevenly on my face, so I marched myself into my optometrist's office and demanded that the young man there fix those damn frames to land straight on my imperious nose.

He examined the frames for a while, found nothing wrong. Then he examined my face and found the problem. He said very carefully, "Uh, ma'am...there's only so much I can do, because, you see, one of your ears is lower than the other. But that's perfectly normal...really! We get that all the time!"

Sure you do, and you probably meet a Super Dweeb with an unbreakable face every day, too.

Nevertheless, life is good, because I can see clearly now. The scratches and dots and squiggles are gone. The blue of the Arizona desert sky is brilliant.

But the threat of battered frames and abused lenses is always there before my eyes.


  1. Hey Hillary, this was right on the money! My glasses were also nearly demolished by my lovely daughter recently. ; ) However, you'd think the optician would have been a little nicer about the lopsided ears. (They do see it all the time, but usually they are too polite to mention it!) (Camille)

    1. Camille, maybe he thought I would take it in stride, because I obviously have the lopsided mouth and crooked nose to match. :-)

    2. Enjoyed this, Hilary. I too have facial architecture not built for glasses. The only pair of sunglasses I ever liked were chewed by the puppy immediately after I returned them home from holiday. One day, glasses will be a requirement, I'm sure, and so I guess my ears have a few more years to fall into line with nose and eyes.

    3. Matt, you don't have to wear glasses? You lucky devil! Of course, people could ask me: why don't you get contact lenses? Well, if you have ever seen Joe Vs The Volcano, the part where Tom Hanks' character is talking about the overhead flourescent lights sucking the juice from his eyeballs, then you will understand when I say that is exactly how I feel wearing contacts. It cannot be done by me.

  2. You know I just started wearing them, so I'm waiting for this day (for them to be smashed by my chitlins ;-) And who knew how much those babies cost! Yikes. It is overwhelming too how many frames there are to choose from and they each make one's face look vastly different! I went with my inner hipster inclinations :) I like your taste in glasses though, they suit you well. Good luck keeping them in one piece.

    1. Good luck, indeed! I know from experience that I'll need it. I suppose a pair of destroyed glasses can get one a new, more stylish pair, but the pain of having them smashed into your face every few weeks is no picnic. Maybe you'll escape that terrible fate, Holly. As your friend, I sure hope so!


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