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Trying to Make Contact

Last week found me at what used to be my favorite doctor’s office–the optometrist, a place that I’d considered a humiliation-free zone– no tell-all, big mouth scales to ruin my day there. But there’s more than one way to humble a cat or a 50-year-old woman.

Trying to Make Contact lens humor

“We’ve cleared an entire hour for you today,” Javier laughed as I completed my exam and he escorted me to the contact lens fitting room.

“Very funny,” I said praying that an hour would indeed do the trick.

“Only 47 minutes this time,” Javier remarked when I finally got the little buggers to cooperate.

47 minutes. In that time I’d gone through a bottle of contact solution, a roll of paper towels, and six contacts whose whereabouts were unknown. Due to his dwindling supply of lenses, thanks to me, the doctor personally hand-plucked the tiny disposables with his tweezers and placed them on my spastic fingertips as I attempted to work my magic. What service! What skill! What hangnails!

“Clean your station before you leave,” Javier teased, glancing at my nursery school handiwork strewn across the messy table.

“Dr. Wickes, everything is still fuzzy,” I said dizzy, stumbling as I stood.

It was apparent, breaking in new contacts for me was equivalent to anybody else spending two weeks on the Tilt-a-Whirl.

“Give them a few days,” Dr. Wickes said. “Your eyes will adjust and your equilibrium should return.”

“I hope so. I’m teaching a new class next week and I HAVE to wear contacts,” I said, punch-drunk as I recalled my last semester’s class.

In my opinion glasses add five years to your appearance, but in my case it’s more like 30. Just ask my students. I was horrified when they exclaimed, “You’re so old!” But when one of them compared me to his grandmother I vowed never to wear them again. Six-year-olds are merciless for “letting it fly,” like an old pair of Spanx whose spandex is shot. I went down in flames that day when a kid took one look at me in my glasses and asked, “Are you like, 80?”

“80! My Mama is only 73!” I said, flabbergasted.

“I sure never met anybody older than their mama,” he said, confused.

This wasn’t my first time at the “contact corral.” It was my third. Following my recent hysterectomy I discovered not only had I lost my ovaries and my mind, but my vision as well. After another sleepless evening I entered Walgreen’s at dawn desperate to find a quick cure for my new buddies—night sweats and irritability. I was sporting my cheapo cheaters when I mistakenly bought a supply of maximum-strength, pre-natal vitamins. Geared for the young lactating mother instead of the blind, homicidal/suicidal hot-flashing gal about town, my blunder explained the odd look the cashier gave me as I choked three of them down at the checkout line. The pesky bug that appeared afterwards in the parking lot was just a middle-aged, added bonus.

“Do you know what it’s like having to shave your legs while wearing glasses?” I complained from behind my foggy frames. “Especially with a gnat dive-bombing you,” I said, hysterically swatting at the annoying black bug like a flight attendant gone berserk.

Hubby, a self-proclaimed insect annihilator suddenly threw back the shower curtain with a can of Raid in one hand and his commando fly swatter in the other.

“There’s nothing in here,” he said, as I continued my frenzied assault on the swarming nuisance, slapping the air with my loofah.
Then it hit me. I’d spent the past 20 minutes swatting a floater in my eye. A floater! My 92-year- old Gramma had three, but me? And I thought my day couldn’t get any worse. Ha.

“Floaters are quite normal. Especially at your age,” Dr. Wickes added days later, as I sat cross-eyed in his office, my floater circling my nose like a stray satellite. “How old are you?”
“ I’m almost 50,” I retorted.
“Well, there’s nothing you can do about the floater, but we can improve your vision. We have a special on bifocals.”
“Bifocals!” I blurted, clearly shocked with this newest, old-age development. How I went from Mickey Mouse Readers to bifocals in 15 minutes was beyond me.

“Just show me something in a contact lens and we’ll call it a day!” I snapped, those pre-natal vitamins taking their toll as I began “nesting” in the designer sunglasses department.

I discovered contact lenses were a beast all their own. In a word, I was inept. Lens Challenged. I put them in inverted. And in the wrong eye. I dropped them on the floor, my feet, and upon the doctor’s salami sandwich. But I was determined to walk out of there looking like anything, but ancient.

“You’ll get the hang of it,” the doctor promised with lying eyes as I left with my supply of Fountain of Youth in a box.

The day my new class began I’d set aside an entire half hour to insert my contacts. I should have allowed myself a half day. After struggling for an eternity in front of the bathroom mirror I finally finagled the first lens out of the case and “plop” it went into the sink. The second one came out without a hitch and then it was gone. “Poof,” just like that. I searched frantically until I discovered it perched upon my left ta-ta staring at me like a third eye. Hmm, a tri-focal perhaps? Wonder if I’ve now got 20/20/20 vision? With no time to spare and the clock ticking I threw caution, my specs, and old age to the wind and left. At school I waltzed into class squinting, but confident I’d shaved 30 years off my face. In hindsight I should’ve donned a pair of orthopedics instead. Age is all about a good entrance and tripping on the story-time rug and landing sprawled across the floor like road kill just doesn’t constitute “youthful” look.


Georgia Mellie Justad

Georgia Mellie Justad’s humorous writings have appeared in The Storyteller, ParentingPlus, and Dew on the Kudzu and is a contributor to the upcoming anthology, Not Your Mother’s Book …on Being a Mom, as well as numerous other publications. A transplanted Southern belle, she now resides in South Florida or what she fondly calls, “The Land of the Southern Impaired” with her husband and son. When she's not writing she works as a teaching artist specializing in arts integration. Visit her at Possum Queen Scene

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