Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Twenty-Nine and Holding

If you ask my kids how old I am, they’ll smile real big and say, “She’s 29!” I’ve trained them well. If only my body were so cooperative. But no, instead it continues to shout out my real age to the world any chance it gets. Recently it did so when it forced me against my will to buy my first pair of reading glasses.

My husband tried to steer me to the bifocals at Wal-Mart on a couple occasions, but I refused. If I was going to try on the granny glasses, I was going to do it by myself. I was determined to put it off for as long as I could. But when I had to have my son stand across the room just so I could read the note he wrote for me, I knew I had lost my battle.

My lone opportunity finally presented itself when I had to go to CVS to get a prescription filled. The lady told me she could fill it in 15-20 minutes if I wanted to wait. I agreed and moved over to the bookstand to kill the time. After skimming through the various book titles, nothing grabbed my interest. So I began meandering around the aisles, searching for something to keep me busy during my wait.

After what I thought was 15 minutes, I went back to the pharmacy counter and asked if my medicine was ready. “Ten more minutes.” I sighed and when I turned around, there they were—the granny glasses—staring me right in the face.

I looked around and there wasn’t a soul in sight. So I took a deep breath and decided it was time. As I stood in front of the display of glasses, I scanned the various styles and frames. They actually didn’t look too bad. Nothing like the ones my grandparents wore back in the day. I took a pair of bifocals off the rack and tried them on. Instantly, I looked 80 years old! I selected another pair. This time I looked 60ish.

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught site of a man walking down the aisle in my direction. Mortified, I moved over to the makeup purses just next to the glasses and acted like I was looking at them. After he passed, I went back to the glasses, this time taking a look at the actual reading glasses.

As if trying on glasses is not hard enough, the makers of these glasses have to put the large plastic tag that the glasses hang from the rack on directly in the middle so that when you try them on, the tag is either hanging over your nose or covering the middle of your forehead. No matter what, you look like a nerd. And the mirrors they have for checking yourself out are barely big enough to view a pimple, let alone your face. And when you finally can see yourself, the reflection is much like the ones you see in the mirrors at a fun house at the fair.

After trying on what I think was every pair of glasses they had, I narrowed my choice down to a thin, lightweight pair of gold-rimmed reading glasses. I chose those because they were the one pair that I thought looked somewhat cute on me (if anything, they made me look smart). All I had left to do was decide on what strength to get.

I had no idea how good or bad my eyes were, so I tried on all the various strengths until the words on the sign just below the mirror began to appear in focus without me having to stand clear across the aisle to read them. It was a close call. I must have stood there for 10 minutes trying to decide which could help me see the best. Since this was my first time getting a pair of glasses, I thought I would only need the lowest strength. Of course, I was wrong. The glasses that worked best were 175 strength. Not bad, but still higher up there than I wanted them to be, just like my age.

Having lost complete track of time, I put all the glasses back except for the ones I selected. I decided to get an extra pair so that I could keep a pair on my desk for work and a pair on the night stand next to my bed—just like a real old person.

I walked back over to the pharmacy and placed my glasses on the counter. After the twenty-something pharmacy tech retrieved my prescription, she began ringing everything up. When she got to the glasses, she said, “My mom has a pair just like these.” There were several words that came to mind that I wanted to say back to her, but I decided it would be better to remain a lady, so I just stood there with my best "Screw you!" smile.

Yes, getting older is no fun. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m still 29 and holding, even if I have to wear a pair of glasses to help me see like one.