Thursday, October 2, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Waiting for my glasses makes me feel like a kid

By
September 5, 2010 |

Enterprise columnist

* EditorÕs note: Marion is taking the day off. This column ran in very similar form in April 2004.

I have two completely different methods of writing columns. About one quarter of the time, I am full of emotion, and the words spill out, producing a draft in minutes. The rest of the time, I have an idea, but the words resist and the draft takes forever.

The emotional columns Ñ usually better than the ÒideaÓ ones Ñ are often about topics IÕm reluctant to move from my home computer to the newspaper, so they never see the light of day.

I didnÕt run the emotional column below when I wrote it, because it seemed too centered on my own problem (eye surgery in November 2003), but later I changed my mind. The world is divided into two kinds of people: those who need glasses and those who donÕt. I feared this column was just about me, but perhaps it applies to half the world.

ÑÑÑÑ

December 2003.

How can I describe my impatience? IÕm a pregnant woman waiting to see her baby in ultrasound. IÕm a high school senior waiting for a college acceptance. IÕm a red-hot lover waiting for my partner to say yes.

One month has passed since my surgery for a detached retina. In a day or two, my new eyeglasses will arrive, and if they work the way theyÕre supposed to, IÕll see almost normally again.

IÕve waited for new glasses many times in my life, but only one other occasion was this monumental.

I was 8 years old. Mrs. Johnson, my third-grade teacher, said I needed glasses because I flunked the math tests that were written on the blackboard. I attributed my errors to carelessness.

I knew I was seeing just fine.

But I went for my first eye exam, a momentous experience because I learned that adults, even doctors, donÕt know what I see until I tell them. The doctor kept asking me about letters.

Feeling all-powerful, I could have lied about the big E.

But I didnÕt.

Two weeks later, my glasses arrived. I was too young to think they made me unattractive, but they did make the doctorÕs office look weird, and I felt off-balance. I got out quickly. Holding my motherÕs hand, I stepped onto the sidewalk and then stopped dead when I saw the trees.

I knew they were trees because they were tall and standing in the right places, but I felt as if I had never seen them before. Who would have thought that trees are composed of hundreds upon hundreds of individual leaves? I had spent years seeing them in a storybook blur, as if they had been created by a slosh of watercolor.

The astonishment of that day never repeated, although with each routine change in my prescription, I was happy to see better. My first prescription sunglasses were cool. My first contact lenses made me feel pretty.

After that, getting new glasses was a neutral experience, until I turned 45 and my first prescription for bifocals was like a siren, informing me I was getting old. I got used to that, too, and shifted back into neutral.

When my retina detached last month (November 2003), the trees went all to hell. Before surgery they were distorted by black lines; after surgery, I couldnÕt see them through bandages and puffiness. Now IÕm back to the watercolor blotches.

Reading is worse. The blurriness in one eye means the two eyes wonÕt work together. I can see the page, but I tire immediately.

IÕm not the kind of person who spends every moment reading, but when my eyes refuse to focus on printed matter, I feel almost in pain. In fact, one of my nightmares is being thrown into prison, with nothing to read.

People remind me that there are alternatives to reading, notably books on tape. They donÕt feel sorry enough for me.

I donÕt know which makes me more angry, the lack of sympathy or my own inflexibility. I have discovered that I cannot attend to the written word when I hear it out loud. I get distracted or fall asleep. I missed so many details in my first book-on-tape mystery that when the murderer was revealed, I didnÕt recognize his name.

If, heaven forbid, I were ever to lose my eyesight, which would I miss most, trees, or the books and newspapers we make out of them?

In a few days this aching frustration, this walking around the house looking at the spines of books, this jail called television, will come to an end.

A moment from my past will repeat itself, with all the wonder of the very first time.

Someone will take a small, light, geeky object and put it on my face. SheÕll mumble something about fit and sheÕll walk in and out carrying some kind of tool, making adjustments. All of this will be totally familiar. But my reaction will be different. I will feel like an infant placed gently into a warm bath.

IÕll leave with eyeglasses on my face. IÕll see leaves. IÕll feel as nimble and happy as if I were 8 years old.

Ñ Marion Franck lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at marionf@omsoft.com. Her column appears Sundays.

Comments

comments

.

News

 
Jury: Marsh legally sane during murders

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Undocumented Student Center offers help to immigrants

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Rairdan supports more inquiry-based learning

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Standing In: Don’t write? I may as well stop breathing

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

Woodland man convicted in domestic violence case

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Apply soon to be a Master Gardener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Mondavi Center hosts all-star lineup of classical, jazz, dance and more

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C3 | Gallery

 
Willett students sensitized to those who are different

By Maria Clayton | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Friends of the Library host biggest book sale of the year

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Give blood and get a free movie ticket

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
‘Edible City’ discussion planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

TSA bomb training may be noisy

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Katehi will address Rotarians on Monday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
‘ADHD — Myth or Reality’ addressed at UCD talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
AIM testing dates set this fall, winter

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

Tour Honey Bee Haven on Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Woodland City Cemetery tours planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
UCD athletics have break-from-work entertainment for everyone

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: C5 | Gallery

 
Quotes from the Marsh double-murder trial

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Quad abuzz with students

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Wetlands visitors may see ducks arriving

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Boy Scouts host family event in park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

 
How did the Aggies get their name?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C12

.

Forum

Hey, it’s free childcare …

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
The right vote for education

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Just what Davis schools need

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
Nolan’s a calm voice of reason

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Will you open your heart, and your home?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Devil girls play dynamite pool defense

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Davis volleyballers finish strong at Franklin

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Hard-working Blue Devil boys get a water polo win

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
A’s fall as AL wild-card game lives up to its name

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS girls tennis team tames Lions

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Legacy roundup: Milliennium takes Manteca tournament

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

AYSO roundup: Beans, Capay can’t shake each other in U19 play

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Alliance roundup: Los Azules, Italia win tourneys

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Real Salt Lake has too much for Republic

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

From the ground up: Rediscovering classic cheesecake

By Ann Evans | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Leonard D. Blackford

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Anne Elizabeth Elbrecht

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, October 1, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A8