Having a smashing time
‘How are your eyes going?’ I often get asked that question. It usually pops out of someone’s head as a precursor to a conversation about their own eye sight. Some time ago I was invited (who knows why) to dinner with a bunch of women that I didn’t really know very well. I went for two reasons; to improve my social life which was sweet Fanny Adams and the other, I love Italian food.
The get-together was for some kind of a social function, maybe a post -menopausal ladies group or something like that. The venue was a dimly lit busy Italian restaurant where no one appeared at the door to do the usual greet and seat, the tables were too close together, the wine glasses were too tall, the waiters were too short, there was no warning of approaching steps and the floor was amazingly hard. I discovered all those things by accident after crashing into everything not in sight. My ears led me to a table in the bowels of the restaurant where the shrieking and chortling knew no boundaries. I knew that had to be my table.
I don’t recall a ‘How are you?’ after the usual formalities such as ‘so great to see you, it’s been ages’ and so on but instead I was hit straight up with ‘Why are you walking like that?’ ‘Just being cautious, ‘I replied. After a seemingly long pause, one woman had a light bulb moment and said, ‘how are your eyes going?’
My outer voice replied ‘All good. It’s not the worst thing that can happen. ’My inner voice replied ‘Helloooooo. I’m going blind. How do you think they’re going?’
So you need new reading glasses?
Suddenly there was banter flowing in all directions around me about all kinds of vision things experienced by all the women at the table …….. except for me. Trips to the optometrist for stronger glasses, prescription sunglasses, no glasses at all if your laser treatment is successful, acceptance that your vision is going to fail when you get to ‘our age’, how close you parked your car to the restaurant, how far the walk is to the car park in the dark after the dinner and the inconvenience of that when you can’t see a thing, how impossible it is to read subtitles, how impossible it is to read and so forth. I had no idea there were so many problems associated with normal vision.
I listened. I waited. I learned.
Finally, that conversation stopped. There were a few seconds of silence until the woman sitting next to me said ‘our dog’s got the same thing as you’. ‘Oh, what’s that?’ ‘You know, whatever you’ve got. She walks into walls and bumps into furniture and gets aggro for no reason. That sort of thing’. Another moment’s silence followed before someone repeated, ‘How are your eyes going?”