A couple of days ago I had to excuse myself from a meeting and sprint to my office to grab my forgotten little magnifying reading glasses. At 44 years old, I have finally reached the point that my arms aren’t long enough to read small print.* This jarring reminder of my mortality happened abruptly; one day I could see to clip my children’s nails, the next day I was in danger of taking off the top of their finger.
Given that this annoyance occured within The Simple Year, I found myself unable to run to the nearest Walgreens to obtain fashionable eyewear. I had to find a pair at a resale store. I actually left work one day (you can see a pattern here) to run out and buy a pair. Since, these glasses are sold new in bulk at Walmart and truck stops, I think it’s safe to say they aren’t the highest quality in the beginning. So, by the time they get to their second life, they’re usually not in the best shape.
On this particular day, I was digging around in a bin of tiny spectacles labeled, Reading Glasses $1.99, trying to find a pair that were relatively scratch free and still retained both arms. I should also mention that this thrift store offers a small selection of dollar-store quality new items that I usually ignore. Anyway, as I was searching, a kindly elderly lady suddenly appeared and offered me some NEW reading glasses. She helpfully intoned,” these are new and they are only $2.00,” nodding she pushed them forward and added, ”There’s a whole rack.”
“Oh,” I said distractedly,” thanks but I need to buy them used.” Now, she was suddenly furrowing her brow and looking at me with concern. So, she tried again. “But, they ARE THE SAME PRICE.” She waved them under my nose for added emphasis.
“Uh, um, OK, thanks,” I said accepting her offering. At that point, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings or take the time to explain so I skulked around in the next aisle waiting for her to leave so I could resume my search. I eventually found an extremely ugly, but wholly intact pair that automatically adds ten years every time I perch them on my nose.
It didn’t take me long to realize that one pair of these beauties really isn’t enough, primarily because they are never where I want them. If I need them at work, they would invariably be home on the night stand. When it was time to add a tip to the dinner bill, they would be sitting beside my computer. So, I have collected several pair over the last couple of months—all ugly and all previously owned. And they are still never where I need them.
Today, while at a glittery consignment store, I spied one of those beaded glasses keepers. (or whatever they’re called…what are they called?) I tried it on and realized I now looked just like my grade school librarian who I remember as ANCIENT.
I asked the clerk, “Do you have any more of these, maybe little more stylish?” I’ll give him credit, he didn’t laugh. He gave me a bit of a raised eyebrow and very pleasantly said, “Well, not right now, but we do get them in occasionally.”
“OK, I’ll take it.” Sigh…
And then on the way home, I stopped at a home decorating and furniture store I’d heard about that offers a mix of fabulous new and used items– just to have a look around. There, on the counter was a display of brand new hipster-style reading glasses that are more “art gallery owner” than octogenarian. I’m not sure what they were doing in a home furnishing store other than to taunt me.
I’ve had several people ask me what I’m going to buy first when my year is over. Until now, I’ll be honest; I haven’t had a good answer. I think the whole family has been pretty content and hasn’t been waiting on the block for a sprint to the store at the end of April. But now, I will openly admit that I am going to march into Rich Designs Home and pay tribute to my vanity with a pair of those glasses.
*My husband is appalled I won’t go to the eye doctor and even asked the Optometrist about me when he was in for his own annual Air Force mandated eye exam. I was vindicated when the eye professional told my hubby that the non-prescription reading glasses were fine as long as I could see with them.