These are my reading glasses. I resent them deeply.
Yes, even though they are a fun color and have cool temples that fold down so I can read on my side in bed.
The other day, I was trying to figure out why. I don’t think it’s because they are a visible sign that I am no longer twenty. I have steadily increasing streaks of gray in my hair and, honestly, I like the gray. I’ve earned it. I liked the gray and refused to dye it even before the current trend of young women dying their hair gray on purpose. My hairdresser despaired of me but finally stopped asking if I wanted to cover my “natural highlights.”
This is probably incomprehensible to anyone who has yet to attain the age of twenty, but I don’t want to go back there. I was even crazier and more constantly confused twenty years ago than I am now, and I far prefer forty, even if twenty didn’t require daily back stretches and expensive orthopedic shoes.
I theorized aloud this week that the reading glasses bother me because they’re a functional problem, not an appearance change. I think that’s partly it. The gray hair doesn’t affect my ability to do anything, and I don’t mind the increased incidence of ma’am-ing from the teenage boys bagging my groceries. The glasses, though? I now understand why people scatter inexpensive reading glasses all over their houses. I neeeeeed them. Especially in the evening, or I can’t see the delightfully snarky texts I get from my friends. Or read Harry Potter to my kids. I do not and will not wear reading glasses in the gym, for Pete’s sake, but I caught myself holding my phone as far away from my face as possible this morning because I could not read the number of pounds my workout app was telling me to squat. I’m sure I looked ridiculous.
No. I have not yet broken down and visited the eye doctor. I am not emotionally ready for bifocals, and no, I do not want to talk about it.
“You know,” my sister said, “it might be because the gray comes in slowly, and this is all at once.” She works at an eye center. She probably sees a lot of forty-ish women having bifocal temper tantrums. I think she’s on to something. I got a few gray hairs in my early thirties and had one massive freak-out (there was a lot more going on than the gray hair, but that tipped me over the edge ) and then I had some time to work through my feelings on the topic. The eyesight problem arrived like a blown tire on the interstate. Everything was fine until it wasn’t. Not that long ago, I had dinner with a group of women from my high school class. When the menus came out, so did the purses, and the reading glasses. I explained airily that I didn’t need them yet. My eye doctor had told me I probably had a couple of years. When you’re as nearsighted as I am, you don’t need the reading glasses as soon.
Hubris. It’ll get you every time.
So here I sit, heading into the evening hours and watching the words starting to fuzz on the screen as I type. I had to bring a bag with me, and we may have found the heart of the problem right here. If I have to have reading glasses on me all the time, I’m going to be forced to carry a purse everywhere again, and that, my friends, is a bridge too far.