On clearness of vision

I mean that literally, of course, not metaphorically. Though metaphorical vision is nice too. 

A few weeks ago, I used eye makeup that didn’t agree with me. Apparently I’m one of those people who are allergic to certain kinds of makeup. I found this out the hard way, with puffed-out eyes on a vacation trip and a quick side trip to an urgent care center. Yes, that is exactly as fun as it sounds. The doctor there prescribed a heavy-duty steroid to calm things down. Unfortunately one of the side effects of said steroid is blurry vision. So my eyes were puffy and I couldn’t read street signs for a week.

Surprisingly I got around more or less fine. Most of my day consists of staring at a computer anyway. I can do my commute on autopilot. The only dicey time was going to a minor league baseball game with my son’s T-ball team, because I didn’t fully know the area, and also it was at night. I’ve never been so grateful for the GPS and its voice commands. Otherwise I would’ve just kept circling the stadium, squinting at signs like Mr. Magoo. (Granted I couldn’t entirely see the score of the game either, but it’s minor league. Who wins is not necessarily what matters.)

I hated every minute of it, though. The entire reason I wear glasses/contacts is so things aren’t blurry. I felt like I was back in grade school, pre-glasses, trying desperately to read the blackboard. Even though I was wearing my glasses. Just infuriating.

After a week of exasperation and panic — what if this is permanent? what if I need a new prescription? what if I can never wear eyeshadow again? — I finished off the steroid. Magically, my eyes were back to normal the next day.

Ever since that, I’ve been appreciating my vision all over again. I’ve been especially staring at trees, the delicate lines of the leaves against the sky. That was the first thing I noticed when I got glasses, and I was delighted with how lovely the trees were, because — clearly — I hadn’t been able to notice them before. It’s a strange sort of nostalgia.

Without clear vision, we can’t clearly describe anything. Pre-glasses, I couldn’t really have told you what trees looked like, or fireworks, or someone’s facial expression in the distance. Now I can, all over again, and I’m delighted, because I don’t know what kind of writer I’d be otherwise. (Also, what kind of driver.)

So be glad you can see things with perfect clarity, and beware of sketchy eye makeup.

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