At the juncture between hindsight and foresight

When I was in grade 3, I poked myself in the eye with a pencil.  The blunt end thankfully.  I had dropped the pencil under my desk, and my desk being against a wall I had to crawl underneath my desk to retrieve it.  As I was emerging from under the desk, I put my hands on my chair (holding the pencil in one) to pull myself out, and rocked forward onto the pencil – eye first.

I was taken to the office, and sat on the plastic chairs outside while the school’s secretary phoned a parent.  Actually for some reason I feel like it was my grandmother who came to get me, but I don’t remember exactly, perhaps my mom had a supply teaching gig that day.  What I do remember is sitting in those plastic chairs and having classmates walk by and ask me what was wrong – because you only sat in those chairs outside the office if you were hurt, sick, or in BIG trouble.  Then those same classmates watched fascinated as a dark purple bruise – about the size and shape of a pencil end – emerged on the white of my eye.  Oh, gross!

The upshot of that bruise was that I was taken to an eye doctor to make sure I hadn’t done any serious damage.  The eye doctor pronounced my eyes perfectly healthy, but also shed some light on the possible cause of my having jabbed myself in the first place.

The way my mother tells it, the doctor was succinct, if a little contradictory: “Well, her eye is fine,” he said. “But this kid can’t see.”

I didn’t realize it at the time, and so didn’t think to complain, but did you know that when you’re in school you’re actually supposed to be able to SEE the chalkboard from your seat?  I know, right?

Now there’s no blame here – how was anyone supposed to know I had no idea what was going on around me if I didn’t know that I didn’t know?  But teachers, take note, the next time you see a kid bent over her test sheet, with a mere inch and a half between her nose and the table, don’t immediately assume she’s overzealously guarding her answers from cheating eyes…

I got my first pair of glasses in a shopping mall in the States.  I put them on and spent the next two days staring at floor tiles as they rose up crazily to greet me.  My feet were suddenly very small, and a very long way down. Until I took a step forward that is;  then I was sure I would kick myself in the face.  Surely, I thought, this is NOT the way the world is supposed to look.

But then my eyes got used to the world through my glasses, and I forgot what it was like to see without them – if I ever really knew.  I got used, too, to my face with glasses on it, and so did everybody else, so that when I came to school in 12th grade with contact lenses, it took some people a really long time to put a finger on why I looked so different.

When I moved to Vancouver and started working full time in buildings with ghastly air conditioning, I stopped wearing my contacts because my eyes got too dry.  Oh yeah, and for those of you who picture Southern British Columbia as some temperate rain forest redolent with moisture, know this: WET and HUMID are not the same thing.  Yes it rains almost constantly, but the air here could dry out sand.  My contacts, these days, are for special occasions only, and not for more than 5 or 6 hours at a time.

At the same time – I don’t see as well with my glasses as with contacts.  For those of you who are blessed with good vision (damn you), this will make sense if you imagine having a constant halo of blur around your field of vision beyond the borders of your lenses.  This doesn’t happen with contacts because they’re right up there against your eyes and effectively cover your whole field.

Still though, not as good as just SEEING.  Or so I hear.  Not as good as waking up in the morning and not having to squint to bring the GIANT numbers of your alarm clock, positioned a foot away from your head, into enough focus to read the time.  Not as good as never having to poke yourself in the eye to realign a toric lens.

And so, instead of getting new glasses this year, or battling to keep my contacts moist, I’m going to get new eyes.  Tomorrow in fact, a surgeon is going to use a laser to reshape my corneas, and (fingers crossed) I’m finally going to find out what it’s like to see – with my own two eyes.

I’m pretty excited about this concept.  Is it weird that I feel more like a cyborg at the thought of the lasers, than I did having little plastic discs floating on my eyeballs? Wait, don’t bother answering that.

I’m going to have a couple days of recovery where I won’t be able to engage in my usual stint of screen-staring, but stay tuned next week for the surgery follow up.

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One Comment

  1. Posted June 4, 2010 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I remember that day when you jabbed your eye… I still shiver when I think about it.

    Good luck in surgery tomorrow!

One Trackback

  1. By Darrell on July 30, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    pull@catch.shensi” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

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