I was sitting in the Philly train station waiting for my train to central PA to give my lecture when I, as I do, took off my glasses. Most of them came with me, but not all of it. One of the (oh, what’s it called) side-ear-holder-thingys–the thing that keeps the glasses ON my face–did not.
So I’ve been walking around for the last week with the frames taped together with the bright blue tape I usually reserve for marking dishes “dairy” in my kitchen. It’s the sturdiest thing that was in the apartment, even if the glasses still barely manage not to slip off and I look like a dork.
So today I went to the optical people and discovered that glasses aren’t actually cheaper in Israel, despite the popular mythology. At least not for me–I’m both nearsided and farsighted, so my glasses need some fancy lenses to do all that (yes, bifocals–but fancy, modern bifocals.) I was interested to note that despite recent years of squinting at Rashi script and badly xeroxed teeny tiny print of the Rishonim that get crammed into the back and side commentaries, only my distance vision has gotten worse. I wonder what that’s about.
Anyway, I don’t like glasses. I don’t like feeling like there’s a filter between me and the rest of the world, and I’m especially conscious of them when I’m talking to other people. I’ve contemplated contacts, and I may ever go that route, but for some reason it feels like a very drastic measure that I’d want to contemplate more (not to mention the fact that I’d still need [to buy] reading glasses anyway–and in any case, I’d need the glasses I just bought for when I’m not wearing contacts). I’ve thought about that laser surgery thing as well, but it kind of scares me and besides, my eyes aren’t that bad, it feels hard to rationalize going in for a still-imperfect medical procedure if I don’t really need it.
So for now, it’s still four eyes, and just two when I can get away with it. I’m still grieving the loss of my frames–the perfect mix of classy and cat’s-eye groovy, the kind that make me feel like I ought to wear beaded vintage sweaters from the 50s every day. The new ones are OK, but missing the same pizzaz. Between America and Israel, America definitely wins in the “cool frames for people who don’t want bright purple chunky plastic face accessories” department.
“I was interested to note that despite recent years of squinting at Rashi script and badly xeroxed teeny tiny print of the Rishonim that get crammed into the back and side commentaries, only my distance vision has gotten worse. I wonder what that’s about.”
I never needed glasses until after my first year of learning full-time in Israel — for distance! (The eye doctor I went to here in the US, after testing my vision, cast me a worried look and said: “Oh my, I hope you’re not driving!”) When I mentioned what I’d been up that had caused my vision to deteriorate, she nodded and said something entirely reasonable about why reading small print should cause distance vision to deteroriate, but I can’t for the life of me remember it. That was helpful, wasn’t it? 😉
It doesn’t bother me that “there’s a filter between me and the rest of the world.” Look at it this way — our inescapable subjectivity puts a mental filter up anyway. So having a physical filter can be a reminder that we’re not objective (despite what it may seem), and that everything we say deserves a qualifier — at least to ourselves — that “This is just my point of view.” Or, in the immortal words of Dennis Miller, “Of course, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.”
This concludes my postmodern perspective on glasses. Take it or leave it. It’s just my point of view.
It’s a nice drash, but I don’t buy it. At least not from my subjectve (hmm postmodern: “lived,” “embodied”) experience of it, anyway. I still prefer talking to people without.
To be all physiology-nerdy about it, it’s not so surprising that lots of learning leads to more severe myopia: doing lots of close work (reading, writing, embroidery, etc) trains the muscles around the eye to position the lens for near vision, which in turn can cause distance vision to deteriorate.