I’ve worn glasses for most of my life. My eyesight is not particularly good and I need the glasses to get around, though they come with a host of problems that any glasses-wearer is probably familiar with. In the winter, I can’t wear a scarf around my face without going blind because my glasses fog up. In the rain, I can’t see around the giant raindrop-boulders coating the lenses. I must constantly adjust their position and they’re always getting snagged on things or knocked off my face when I’m doing field work.
But I always tolerated these problems with a certain stubborn stoicism. Until…
One day, I was hiking with a couple of blokes up Mt. Warning in Australia. It poured rain the whole day, soaking us instantly to the bone. These two blokes were a few sizes larger than me (not that I’m small, mind you), and I had to trot at a pretty good pace to keep up. I couldn’t see out of my glasses for the rain and had taken them off. I was thus relying on one of their jackets (a neon yellow), bouncing along ahead of me, as a kind of will-o-the-wisp to keep me on the trail.
Nonetheless, I was lagging a bit behind when they suddenly stopped. The jacket got larger in my vision until I was close enough to distinguish faces (that’s pretty close, for me). “Standingoutinmyfield,” they said, pointing, “What is that bird?”
I squinted at a brownish blurry blob on a background of mud, rubbed my eyes, tried putting on my useless glasses and taking them off again, hemmed and hawed. Finally, I dug through my pack to get my binoculars (also useless when covered in water), and tried ineffectually rubbing at them with my soaked shirt.
When I put them to my eyes and still couldn’t see anything, I wilted somewhat. “Um, I can’t…I can’t see it…” I mumbled to the blokes.
“Ugh, what did we bring you along for then?!” they exclaimed, before heading off at their breakneck pace again.
It was then and there that I decided I would get contacts. Just for situations like that. I hate being useless. But it was months before I was in one place long enough to do something about it, and by then my motivation had lagged somewhat.
Out for a run one day, it began to pour. I was forced to take off my glasses again, lest I be completely blinded. As I was running along, I saw two short metal posts and decided to run between them. What I did not see was the metal chain strung between the two posts.
In a moment of utter confusion, I ran into the chain at full speed. It whacked me solidly in the thigh and I swung around and somehow ended up with one foot on the chain, swinging back and forth, one foot sliding in the mud, and both arms wrapped around a nearby tree.
Then I sat down hard with a SPLOOSH. The next day, when I changed into my bathing suit for a swim, there was a lovely chain shaped bruise across my thigh.
I set up an eye appointment for later that day, and never looked back*.