Yesterday, after almost a month of dithering, I finally chose new glasses. I have been using reading glasses for almost a decade, and six years ago bought my first pair every day glasses. Meg was with me when I picked them up and my exclamations of “Wow! Look at those leaves!” were met with head-shaking laughter.
My eyes aren’t too bad. I can see well enough in the distance to recognise anything for what it is; a tree, road sign, person. The problem began when I couldn’t read the name on the road signs and, worse, when I would stare at people at the supermarket because although they looked familiar, I had to be pretty close to see the details of their faces to be sure I was right. It made for some uncomfortable moments.
My new glasses were a wonder. Not only could I read signs or recognise people from a distance, the world was in sharper focus. I hadn’t realised that my world had taken on soft edges. This can be a useful technique depending on what you’re viewing. I’m not sure I need to see how much ear hair the check out guy is sprouting, but when it comes to nature sharper is definitely better. However, within a year I went from wearing them all the time to dragging them out once or twice a month for movies or driving at night.
We had family visiting this weekend and took them for a walk to the Stone Store Basin. Our area is historical for Maori and early European settlements. The Stone Store is New Zealand’s oldest European building and behind it sits Kemp House, a former missionary station. About eight years ago a new bypass was constructed further up the river towards town to divert vehicle traffic away from the basin. While drivers enjoyed passing the beautiful setting, tourists didn’t appreciate cars whizzing past while they posed for photos, and the vibrations from vehicles were slowly undermining the stone and mortar construction of the building. Also, frequent threats of flooding occurred when seasonal rains carried fallen trees down river, were trapped against the bridge and acted as a dam.
There was huge controversy over the removal of the old bridge. It was considered ‘historic’ and a petition was started to save it as a footbridge across the river. Quite frankly it was an ugly bridge, made up of old concrete and steel with no aesthetic appeal. Most importantly, it was poorly designed to withstand flooding and so it was removed. A new, beautifully arching foot bridge was built a short distance up river to link both sides and provide a stunning view over the basin. Within six months of the removal of the old bridge not a whisper has been said against the removal of the old bridge. The area is beautiful, peaceful and used extensively by locals and tourists for picnics, playing, swimming and simply hanging out.
Back to my glasses. You see, I realised on Sunday as I stood overlooking this gorgeous heritage site that I too had to let go of the past and get used to a new and improved future. I don’t like how I look with glasses. Over the last month I’ve tested the patience of my friends as I’ve made them act as mirrors while I’ve vacillated over countless design options. The truth is that with glasses on I look different, not better, not worse, just different. I’ve ordered two pairs that are pretty and feel comfortable to wear.
In ten days time I will embrace the clarity my new glasses will provide and my eyes (and friends) will no longer be tired from my indecision. Oh, and I’ll focus on the leaves instead of the ear hair.
P.S. Here are my new glasses. They are very comfortable and I’m enjoying clarity every day!