It all started in the coffee shop when Maggie picked up a bar of chocolate and tried to read the fat content. As she held the bar at the tip of her nose, her eyes crossed and uncrossed like windscreen wipers. Then she held the bar at arm's length as if that would make the writing bigger. "They must be using those low energy bulbs in here because I can't see a thing" she said.
"Perhaps you need glasses," I suggested. Honest to God, you would think I had mortally insulted her.
"I'm waaay too young for glasses," she squawked, her lip trembling like an aspen leaf in an autumnal zephyr. (I'm being kind here. Her lip actually looked like that of a pollock on the end of a hook). "Glasses are for oul' wans."
I handed her my reading glasses to see if it made a difference: "Jaysus, it's a whole new world," she admitted as she read the fat content with ease. She was even able to read the name tag on the girl behind the counter. Thrilled with herself she roared, "HOWYA GORETTI!" at her. Goretti scuttled back down to the deli counter.
Anyway, to make a very long story short, we found ourselves in the opticians for Maggie's first ever eye test. Sitting outside I could hear her shouting out all the letters. She was so confident in her enunciation that I presumed she passed with flying colours. It turned out she made the last four lines up because she couldn't see them.
"I need reading glasses," she whispered when she came out, as if revealing the secret of Fatima. "But the optician did say that I have beautiful eyes." Close questioning revealed that what he actually said was that her eyes were in good condition for her age.
Back on the shop floor an assistant asked her if she had a medical card.
"No," she replied, "but now that I'm almost blind I'll apply for one straight away."
Maggie has a short face so the assistant tried to steer her in the direction of frames that might suit her but it was like trying to steer a wild bull at a rodeo.
"I want big and I want designer," she stated. After 40 minutes she settled on a pair that make her look like Elton John circa 1975 but they are red and have sparkly bits so that's all that matters. She gulped a little when told the price but, undeterred, handed over the credit card.
"I'll be able to get it back on the medical card," she said.
God love her innocence.