Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I SEE THAT I CAN SEE

The year I was in the third grade was full of events and situations that I will probably write about in the future.  It was a time of learning that I could think for myself and express myself even though my thinking would often not be received very well.  I was doing fairly well in school and my grades reflected that I was learning things.  I was starting to play baseball for the cub scouts and seem to have no problem hitting or fielding,  except for becoming bored or having to have an occasional bathroom break while I was out in centerfield.

One of the biggest changes in my life occurred that year.  I had my eyes tested.  I am not sure if the school did the testing or mom took me to get them tested but the result was that my eyesight was less than perfect.  I was to become a bespectacled four eyes.  I was not too pleased at the concept of getting glasses but I heard them assure my mom that I would not need to wear them all the time, just when reading or sitting in school.  The thought of sitting in school with glasses on was not pleasant news for me.  I could not find an upside to wearing glasses.

As the test was being given I felt fairly confident that I was giving all the right answers from the eye chart.  They said read line 5 and I would look and rattle off a few letters and numbers.  Either I was looking at the wrong line or I was mistaking letters for numbers and getting everything wrong.  Glasses should improve my school work and help me in other areas of life.  It should make reading more enjoyable although I was already reading and having fun doing it.  Books were one of my best friends then just as they are today.

After failing the eye test I was taken to a doctor to get my eye prescription.  It was the first time I had a glaucoma test and the little puff of air caught me totally by surprise.  Never again would I be able to sit still waiting for that little puff of air to hit me.  Then i was told to look through this contraption to get my eyes so they could see.  It looked like something out of an Orson Wells novel. The doctor would switch the lenses around and ask me which one I could see better out of.  To be honest I don't think I could tell a difference between one or the other.  I still have that problem today when having my eyes checked.  I feel like I am taking a test and the pressure is on to give the right answer.  It is like taking a true or false quiz that is filled with trick questions.  Pretty soon I found myself just guessing which one was better or not.  It was intense pressure indeed trying to answer the simple question "this one??? or THIS one."  I wanted to tell them that I have no idea but that was not an option.  It had to be one or the other.

The day I got my glasses was one of the major turning points in my life.  I still remember it fairly clearly to this day.  They were not snazzy stylish glasses.  They were brown plastic with clear plastic on the bottom side so they would bother me less when I was reading.  I had already accepted the fact that the glasses would change my young yet handsome face for years to come.  I kept telling myself that I don't have to wear them all the time, just in school and when reading.  It was not much solace.

As they slipped the glasses on my face in the store I didn't notice much difference.  I could see the mirror and the man sitting in front of me.  I could see mom clearly just as I had before.  The thing I didn't realize was that all of these things were within five feet of me.  I did not have the forethought to look past what was right in front of me.  I didn't notice that I could see the wall across the store crystal clear.  I did not notice that I could read little signs on desks that I probably didn't even know were there.  I just didn't think these glasses were going to make much difference. Then came the moment of awakening.

We walked out of the store and my mind was flooded with images that I had not paid much attention to before.  I could see a billboard across four lanes of traffic and read the words on it.  All of the colors of the outside world were suddenly vivid and bright.  Images on signs and store fronts were sharp and clear.  I could see people and make out their faces quite a distance from me.  This was amazing to me.  It was a whole new world opened up before me.

Even though I had permission to take them off because they were meant to assist me in reading and seeing the blackboard at school I knew that I would never take these wonders of science off of my face.  It was a world I had not known existed.

Since that day I have worn my glasses everyday of my life.  I have broken more than a few pairs and had to replace them.  Glasses and basketball don't always go well together.  My eyesight has changed over the years to the point where I wear bifocals now so that I can read and still be able to see the television.  The only time I take them off with consistency is when I shower or go to bed.  Otherwise they are a fixture on my face and have become part of my personality.

I didn't notice that it helped my baseball game any or that my grades improved any at school after I got them.  Actually as time progressed my grades began to slip as I entered high school but it wasn't the glasses fault.  I could see everything written on the blackboard.  I feel like my reading sped up a tiny bit after I received them.   The biggest change though was just living in the everyday world.  Being able to read the scoreboard at Municipal Stadium.  Being able to read signs along the highway on trips.  Probably the most wonderful thing was that I was able to see nature in crisp clear detail.  Trees were more beautiful in both the spring and the fall.  It was like stepping into a wonderland full of surprises.

I would never look at the world the same way again.  Things became clear to me.  I learned a lot through the ability to see.

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