I left my glasses at the Indian restaurant last night and for a few moments, I hoped that they would never be found. I hoped that some restaurant troll who stole towels from hotels and who always took fistfuls of matches and mints from restaurants would have noticed my lavendar spectacles sitting all forlorn in the empty booth and took them, thinking that they might be of some use or value or novelty. I am having a fickle relationship with my glasses these days. I don't like wearing them, but I need to wear them. Am some wack combination of farsighted and nearsighted. Cannot read street signs at night. Find computer screen rawther fuzzy during day. I look better with them on, what with my little eyes the size of pistachios and the dark lines that surround them. I saw a picture of myself from the other day and I looked like I'd been trainspotting for months. All I was missing was a chain wallet and a dog collar. Oosh, gurl.
The glasses which I now resist wearing were once the ones I oft-desired as a wee lass. In 1st grade, I convinced my mother that I needed glasses (conniving little trollop that I was) even though my vision was near perfect. It wasn't enough that I was the shortest and the newest girl in my class (I switched schools in October that year), but evidently, I needed more attention which a new set of specs could surely guarantee. Furthermore, my mother had a pair of goggles that I fancied. They were pale pink with a sculpted, feathery design on the side. They were the epitome of feminine. In 1986. I remember that she made me try to read the Palmolive bottle from several feet away. I purposely read aloud each letter incorrectly. P-A-I-N-... Well, I guess that settles it, said Mom. Time to go see Doctor Eye Ogler. Doctor Eye Ogler saw right through my thinly veiled plot to get hip to the new hardware. He pronounced my vision fine, my mother convinced that maybe I was just going through a growth spurt (that may have been the one and only) and that my eyes were just adjusting.
I never cried wolf again. The genuine need for the glasses presented itself in grade 12 when my grade in Physics (I took physics tuition) was spiraling at the speed of light in a negative direction because I could not read the board. To Lenscrappers I went, netting myself a pair of gold wire-rimmed numbers. My mother said I looked like "her little owl."
The wire-rims were retired my sophomore year of college when I opted for the trendy tortoise shell plastic frames that I lost repeatedly, replaced, and wore until last year. 2005: Enter: Purple. I don't know why I chose purple frames, except that I must have been experiencing a quarter-life crisis and was not yet ready to acknowledge my role in the professional world, a world where you could cut some corners (i.e. Wrinkle Release, like manna from Heaven for a gurl who hates to iron), but in which you have to make certain decisions about what's acceptable and what's not. There are clothes that can get you hired (pinstriped suits, crisp white oxford shirts, classic black clicky heels) and clothes that can get you fired (like, for example, wearing too much thong, too little pants). Purple glasses may not get you fired, but they may not get you hired, either.
Unless, of course, the woman who hires you is wearing the same glasses. Purple is hard to miss when it is on one's face, generally, and this bosslady spotted it immediately. Once responsibilities and salaries were discussed, we shook hands. "I knew it the second I saw the glasses," she began, affirming her confidence in my abilities. Since we had picked out the same glasses and all.
Glasses are sometimes obstructions, and sometimes masks. We can hide behind them, or we can feel hindered by them. This is, of course, an age when we can poke our eyes with flimsy transparent disks or splice our cornea and burn it with a laser so that we can see clearly without the use of glasses. I think about my life, my identity as glasses gurl. Sometimes, I want to shed them, and other times, I like that storekeepers remember my face, my little Cabbage Patch doll face with the pistachio eyes, set behind a pair of purple glasses.