I’ve Been Framed

I bought keyhole bridge glasses from Zenni that I thought were going to be small, cute, and timeless. When I got them, I realized that they looked more like the glasses my dad wore in the 1980’s and I loved them so I got a pair just like them, even though they took up my whole face. As a result, they’ve sat on my dresser for month17621688_10154934272490272_7265410217600779728_o (1)s, and I intended to return them until my sister came to visit and I knew that she would get a big kick out of them. I was not wrong. She said at least nine times that she loved my glasses, and at one point, said, “I would die for those.” Therefore, she decided that she must have a picture of them, and that’s how I ended up admitting to my fans that I am a big nerd…. although these glasses are probably the book jacket look I am going for, along with a blazer that has patches on the sleeves.

The frames, to my mind,  are hideously throwback and preppy, but I’ve been preppy most of my life, because I went to HSPVA.

At ‘PVA, the only way to be counterculture was to dress in preppy clothes, because it’s a sea of dyed hair and piercings in alternative places. I wore penny loafers every day, and would still if I could find them. I went to Goodwill and picked out every possible combination of khakis and button downs that fit, along with Birkenstocks, which were actually in style back then, even with socks. Fortunately or unfortunately, they were also a great blinking with with 70 pt font advertisement that I’m a lesbian.

I wore glasses throughout my childhood, but I stopped because they didn’t work. My problem was neurological and there was nothing wrong with my vision. I don’t remember what the prescription was back then, but getting glasses didn’t actually work until a few years ago, when my optometrist was “insightful” enough (see what I did there?) to add prisms to the prescription. They don’t always keep my eye from drifting, but when I was little, I had an alternating isotropia/strabismus, meaning that my brain would choose which eye was the best at any given time and switch off because I don’t have monocular vision. Now that I’m almost 40, the vision in my left eye has gotten bad enough that it doesn’t alternate anymore…. which is actually a blessing because the alternation changed my field of vision all the time, resulting in totaling two cars. I am a much better driver than I used to be because I have the same field of vision all the time. My doctor wants me to put a Post-It note over my right eye for at least 30 minutes a day to try and strengthen my left eye, because then we might be able to start training for 3D. However, it hurts my head so bad that I am struggling with it, for two reasons, actually. The first is the aforementioned headache. The second is that the vision in my left eye is so bad that I can’t read or write, because fonts become too fuzzy. I need to bolster my will in the worst way, because if I don’t, I will never finish Staring at Myself, the case study and autobiography I’m working on… a book based on the work of Susan Barry in Fixing My Gaze.

It’s hard to read that book now, even though I’ve read it four times already, because it is a reminder that Oliver Sacks is dead, the one person I wanted to meet before my book was complete. I was completely engrossed by The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: And Other Clinical Tales. I took his death very personally, because I always do when my writing heroes die.

As I’ve mentioned before, the title of my book was given to me by my ex-wife, Dana, when I told her that the only 3D I could see was very, very close up. I can see both sides of my nose at once, and that’s about it…. and I couldn’t even do that until Susan Barry said I could, because my eyes tracking together was a process of starting with something close and slowly dragging objects further away and trying to keep focus. Barry used a string of beads…. but like I said, it’s going to be a process to get my left eye strong enough to even begin working on said project.

I went to Disney World with the HSPVA orchestra in 9th grade, and they had a Muppet Movie designed in 4D, prism glasses as opposed to the classic red and white. For the first time, things jumped out at me the way they were supposed to, and made me laugh with one of Kermit’s big lines… we invited the world’s foremost scientists to appear in this movie, but they refused to come. Bunsen and Beaker’s “experiments” exploded toward my face and it was life-changing, because I realized all the things I couldn’t see under normal circumstances.

As a result, most of the reason I wear tiny blue frames as opposed to the ones pictured is that the prisms are too low on my face to actually work. I can see better with my left eye, but that is the extent of their usefulness…. well, except for the fact that they make me look like my dad as opposed to my mom’s “mini-me.” Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I like every once in a while to prove that both sides of my family are represented in the way I look… although I think I look far more like my grandparents than I do my parents.

However, I am the only one in my family who has monocular vision, because it happens after birth. I had such trouble when I was born a preemie. My lung collapsed, I got a palsy in my brain from far too much pure oxygen, and it took me almost two years to learn to walk. Through all of that, my eyes never learned to track together.

For a long time, this was thought to be a permanent condition, and if it never happens for me, I’ll write about that, too. But too much research has come out relatively recently that proves otherwise.

I just need to buy some Post-Its.

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