bunt sign

Friday, March 15, 2002

As I was leaving for the post office this morning, the Boss called and asked me for a phone number. For the second day in a row, he'd gone off on sales calls without his notes. I tried to give him other messages, but he said he'd call me back in an hour, when he wouldn't have to try to write while driving through San Jose. Good idea.

That gave me enough time to get to the post office and back, with a side trip to the gas station so I wouldn't be stranded all weekend with an empty tank. Another good idea, if I do say so, especially since when I got back there was a message from the optician to let me know my new lenses were in.

Since I didn't want to spend the whole weekend just thinking about seeing clearly, I turned right around and headed downtown. I knew the Boss wasn't going to call back in an hour. I'd be lucky if he remembered to call back at all.

I was about halfway down the first block when I realized I hadn't shaved this morning. I hadn't forgotten. I just didn't think I'd be seeing anyone that up close and personal today. For a split second I thought about turning around and running the razor over my face, but I decided to see if I could get by with the scruffy look this one time.

Luck was with me when I found a spot in the postage stamp sized parking lot, and no one at the reception desk seemed to mind my stubble. Either it looks good on me, or (and this is more likely) nobody looks at my face that closely anyway.

The optical department at my eye doctor's office reminds me, for some reason, of Six Feet Under. Everyone is very professional, talking in hushed tones with the client and patiently answering questions they must hear a dozen times a day, as if that person were the first one ever to ask them. I just can't help thinking that somewhere below the surface (or maybe behind the partition) something wild and passionate is happening.

Or maybe I watch too many Mexican soap operas. (And the ones from Venezuela are even steamier. You don't have to speak a word of Spanish to see that.)

As I sat waiting for my new lenses to be put into my old frames, the optician took another customer, an older woman who I'm sure he thought wouldn't take up much time, since her glasses were ready. He probably didn't count on the flood of questions she was about to ask. I just sat there and listened, since I didn't have my glasses and couldn't see anything anyway.

She had him describe astigmatism and she wanted to know what all the plus and minus numbers on her prescription meant and she even asked him what kind of spare reading glasses she should buy next door at Barnes and Noble for seven dollars. He told her to pick up a book, hold it at the right distance, and buy whatever glasses she could see most clearly with. Made sense to me.

While I was sitting there listening to all this, I detected a fashion faux pas. I'd left a button undone, and it was not a button on my shirt. Since I didn't want to call attention to myself, I just casually held my hands in my lap. If nobody looks at my face, for sure nobody looks at the rest of me, so I didn't expect anyone to notice. And as far as I know, no one did. I got all the way home without flashing anybody.

When the optician handed my glasses to me, he gave me a card with some fine print on it. I almost swooned with joy when I discovered I could read everything on that card, down to the tiniest size at the bottom. I was overwhelmed. I expected a long adjustment period, because the last time my prescription changed I was miserable for three or four months.

But I walked out of that office a new man. I almost drove off the road because I was so excited to be able to read all the signs on my way home. Instead of getting right back to work I went upstairs and read a couple of chapters in my novel, just because I could. I'm deliriously happy, and would be even happier if the Boss hadn't got back to his temporary office about five o'clock and decided it was time to get to work.

clouds in the east

Clouds in the east.

Five minutes after I got back from the optician's it started raining. Hard. It poured for exactly fifteen minutes, and then it stopped. The sun came back out and it was fine (but very cold) for the rest of the day. They're saying it'll be rainy all weekend, and maybe even cold enough to snow again. But they've been wrong every day this week, so I don't know why I should believe anything they tell me.

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