Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I remember the day my brother got glasses. He had to have been at least five or six, maybe a little older. We were living in San Antonio at the time and I am pretty sure it was before my grandfather died.

I remember him walking into the living room and staring up at a large portrait that my grandparents had of my mom and her siblings. The painting had been done of them when they were young and living in Germany. The painting has hung in the living room as long as I can remember. He looked up at the portrait and then at my mom and excitedly said "Mom that picture is of you!"

Turns out my brother is pretty blind. He was in awe that trees had individual leaves on them. Before his glasses trees were just a big fuzzy ball of green. In fact I am pretty sure that the world was just a big fuzzy mess. Of course having always seen things like that he didn't know any better to tell my mom he couldn't see things.

I never had that problem. My eye sight was never that bad or even bad enough to need glasses. Aside from having a number of eye traumas, like a paper cut to the eye and being stabbed with a coffee straw, I was good in the vision department for the most part.

The only complaint I ever had was an almost complete lack of depth perception. I mean I have enough to know that things are you know, three dimensional, but that is about the extent of it. If the object is within a foot of my face I can't tell how far from me it is. If it is more than say three feet from me, I can't tell how far from me it is. Near and far are the distances I work in.

This generally makes life challenging. Things like walking, dancing, fighting, sports, or driving prove to be quite difficult for me. I had to learn to time distances from one fixed object to another in order to do a lot of things. When driving I count and know that a car is five seconds from me not five feet from me. It typically means I am farther away from other cars which can annoy other drivers, but it is the only way I can be safe, so I don't really care.

When I was heading off to college my eye doctor finally decided I should have some glasses. I was just the tiniest bit near sighted. It wasn't enough that I needed to wear glasses constantly, but he thought it would be helpful for driving and seeing the board from the back of the class.

What the glasses actually did was suddenly give me some depth perception. It was so freaky. The first time I put them on I nearly fell out of my chair because suddenly I could tell exactly how far from me something was. It was really disorienting.

I pretty much never used my glasses. I always forgot them when I was driving or going to a movie, and if I used them in class they made me sick from when I would go from focusing on the board to focusing on the paper in front of me. After a few years they were all but forgotten.

The last time I went to get my drivers license renewed I almost failed the vision portion of the test. My eyes haven't gotten that much worse, but it is just enough to be troublesome. Driving at night has become an issue as well. I knew I needed to do something about it.

My eye doctor pretty much said the same thing my last eye doctor told me. Wear them when I feel like I need them, mostly for driving. It was pretty much exactly what I was expecting out of my visit. I was also prepared for the sudden shift in my world when I put the glasses on, no falling out of my chair this time around.

Only it wasn't the same as last time. This time my eyes are a little worse so the glasses are a little stronger. This time there is more change in my surroundings. This time the world seems really  not right when I am wearing the damn things.

When we left the store there were a few more errands in the mall we needed to run. I didn't have my purse with me so I decided just to wear the glasses. I figured I could get used to them a little. It was a good plan in theory. I should know better than to go with my theories.

It was entirely disorienting. I was given the impression that the ground was much further away than my brain thinks it is and so I had the impression I was walking above the ground. The front edges of all objects appeared to tilt downward slightly as though everything was slanted. I had to take off my glasses a couple of times to make sure it was just an optical illusion.

Worst of all, I have no idea anymore where anything is. I am like a young child who just had a growth spurt and keeps knocking my glass of milk over. My propreorecption had gone right out the window. I was actually afraid to touch things in the store for fear of knocking them down and breaking them.

Thankfully once in the car I was fine to drive. I could see signs, I could tell where other cars were, I could in general drive better. I was relieved that I hadn't just dropped a large chunk of change on something that I could not actually wear.

I simply can not wear the stupid things when I am actually walking around. I think maybe if I wore them all the time that I would learn to adjust and my brain could start thinking differently, but then I know I would have nothing but trouble when I took the damn things off.

Really the key is to not wear them when I am walking. I am sure it will only take a few more instances like this morning with me hopping around on one foot and screaming and cursing because I ran into an inanimate object hard enough to take all the skin off my toes before I remember to wait until I am in the car to put the glasses on.

Honestly I have not idea how you people with depth perception manage not to hurt yourselves.

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