Tuesday 12 December 2017

Brendan O'Connor: 'Signs you're getting old number 8,714 - the glasses thing'

Brendan O'Connor
Brendan O'Connor
Reading glasses are usually introduced as a novelty turn in a poorly-lit restaurant

Signs you're getting old number 8,714. The glasses thing.

I'll be honest. I didn't realise that pretty much everyone needs to dabble in glasses at some stage. I had no glasses. I was a glasses-free person. So I just assumed that was how it was. Some people have glasses and I do not. So I presumed that situation remained constant and steady. There are two types of people in the world. And I'm the type who doesn't have glasses.

Somehow, I seemed to have failed to notice various people who were not glasses people becoming glasses people over the last few years. They usually introduced them casually, as a kind of novelty turn in a poorly-lit restaurant. It was like a parlour trick. "Look at me suddenly looking like my dad!" was the kind of vibe. And then you'd ask them for a go, and we would all have a good laugh about how the menu suddenly became legible for me when I put on someone else's glasses.

But somehow it never struck me that maybe I should think of turning into my own dad and get some reading glasses. I blamed the increasingly foggy atmosphere in which we live. Like the noise in restaurants, the darkness was a sign of the times too. The world was changing. I certainly wasn't. I blamed the hipsters and the millennials and so on. They had altered the atmosphere.

That was a sustainable position until the problem followed me home. I started to notice that the lighting at home wasn't the best. Even during the day sometimes. And newspapers seemed to have cut back on their print sizes.

I think part of my issue was a reluctance to give in. I think I thought that the glasses would become a crutch and that if I started using them at all, even occasionally, then soon my eyes would get lazy and I would need them all the time.

Eventually I decided that maybe I should just get my eyes tested. And they would tell me nothing was amiss. And I did and they did. I was a 1 on one side and a 1.25 on the other side. So nothing abnormal. And the tester basically sent me off to do with this information what I would.

The daughter goes to a good eye man every now and then, so I forced my wife to ask him what I should do. She pointed out that he was just going to say do what everyone does and get some reading glasses. I said maybe there was new technology or something. And maybe I'd be damaging my eyes unnecessarily with the glasses. He would have another answer, I was convinced.

He said get the glasses. In fact he said get loads of them, cheap ones, and leave them everywhere. I wasn't happy with this, so I parked the issue again for a while. I wasn't ready to become my dad yet.

And then one day I was in Tiger with the elder one. She loves Tiger, or any of what we call the crazy shops. Wherever she is in the world there is nothing she likes more than to go into the crazy shops. She's a cheap date. Give her three quid and bring her to Dealz and you're the greatest. Anyway I noticed that Tiger had these fairly innocuous looking glasses for four quid.

I put on a pair and I have to say I liked what I saw. In fact, I would go so far as to say I didn't half fancy myself. I looked softer, more erudite, more liberal. I looked like an Italian architect, or David Hockney. The fact that the frames covered my rather pronounced frown line over my nose helped too. I bought two pairs and put them away in a drawer at home.

My initial flirtations with them involved trying them on with various outfits. So if I was dressed for work, I might say, "Hmmm. I wonder how the glasses look with this outfit," and I would get them out and check myself out. Or if I was dressed down, I might say, "Wonder how they work with a more casual look?" I still hadn't used them to read anything, but I liked my new mature look so much, felt I was already in the running for glasses wearer of the year. I've now taken to sticking them on the odd time to read something. I have to admit it's pretty revolutionary, like looking at the page through a magnifying glass. But I feel this is going to be a gradual thing. The big step will be putting them on outside the bedroom.

But I'm not ready for that yet. But when I do. Watch out world. The slightly fuller-faced Morrissey is coming to get you.

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