Sunday, May 11, 2014

Lesson Learned: Want What You Have

Announcement: I am not getting new eyeglass frames, and it’s my mother’s fault.

I got glasses when I turned 14, glasses that I didn’t want and was prepared to despise. When I put them on, for the first time I could see the neighbor’s back fence from our kitchen window. (Hi, Cheri!) I decided it was okay to wear glasses after all.  After brief flirtations with contacts (hard and soft) in college and later on, I have enjoyed wearing glasses ever since.

Early on, my mother told me to take good care of my glasses, to protect them from getting bent or broken or otherwise abused. So I did, and I always have. I don’t wear my glasses pushed up on my head where they may fall off and I don’t let them ride around in my purse or tote unless they are in a hard case.

In the past, I bought new frames every four years or so when I needed new lenses -- and what a collection of fun frames I’ve had: big red round glasses, studious horn rims and lovely malachite-colored frames.

A week ago, a frame I did not seek out caught my attention. These glasses sang to me, called my name, lured me in, even though I was not in the market for new ones. These saucy frames were in a locked cabinet (never a good sign) at the ophthalmologist’s office, where I had an appointment to find out why my left eyelid kept twitching.

The twitch was nothing, the ophthalmologist said, but he recommended I have an eye exam, as my last one was two years ago. At that appointment last Thursday, the optometrist said my vision had barely changed; if anything, it was slightly better than it had been four years earlier, two appointments ago.

Doctors rarely tell anyone my age that any body part is improving, so I decided to be pleased. “What about my frames? Do they look okay?” I asked. The doctor said my frames looked brand new. They are not – they are seven years old. My sunglasses are even older, but she said they look great too.

Rats! Even though I didn’t need new lenses and my current frames are in excellent shape, I marched down the hall and into the office where frames are sold. “I am here for a budget meeting,” I told the receptionist. “I need to know what new glasses would cost.” The woman nodded and signed me in. Then she looked at me more closely and said, “I L-O-V-E those frames you have on! They look great on you!”

I thanked her. Then I confessed that I wanted to try on the frames I liked so much, the ones locked in the cabinet down the hall. “It’s the $400 Tiffany Lux frame,” I said, “beautiful horn rims with flashes of turquoise.”

The receptionist said, “I know them -- that’s the most expensive frame in the shop, but they are pretty!”

The optician who waited on me calculated the cost of new lenses and factored in the amount my insurance would cover. Then she fetched the Tiffany frames. I took a deep breath and put them on.

Whoa -- they were all wrong! Suddenly the song they had sung became discordant. Oh, the color did indeed look good on me, but the top of the frames covered my eyebrows and the sides extended out too far. I was thrilled and despondent at the same time because although I was saving a ton of money, this also meant that I was not going to walk through the world wearing these magnificent glasses.

Then the optician asked to examine my current frames, which I have loved since the day I bought them, the day I went in to have my burgundy rectangular frames adjusted and accidentally came out with the glasses I now wear.

“This frame looks brand new,” she said. “I see no scratches or stressed places or any damage at all. Why did you think you needed new glasses?”

I told her I had not intended to shop at all, but had been captivated by the Tiffany frame. I also told her that my hair (gray and silver with a smattering of brown) often seems neutral to me and my current glasses echo that color scheme. I told her that maybe I needed more color in my face. I also told her at least three of my friends had suggested an inexpensive solution: lipstick.

The woman laughed. Without stopping to put on lipstick, I headed off to catch a bus. Riding home, I grumbled that other people get new frames all the time. So why not me? Because, I realized, I take really good care of my glasses, just like my mother told me to over 50 years ago.
So it's her fault, at least in a round-about way. 

Of course the entire experience reminded me of something else I already knew: Want what you have.

P.S. Realized I already have something besides lipstick -- Susan, my co-madre (her daughter married my son) gave me a bonus blush she got at a cosmetics counter that did not suit her. It's called Alluring Rose. C'est moi!