Sunday, July 18, 2010


All right, a moment of full disclosure for those of you who don’t know me in real life*:

I wear glasses. I don’t draw them because it’s a pain, and my pictures have enough issues as it is.


Actually, I’m very fond of my glasses. In addition to an air of intelligence, they give me something to do with my hands at parties (“Time to clean my glasses!”), an excuse for pretending not to see people in the grocery store (“Sorry, I took off my glasses!”), and an endearingly compulsive nervous tic (“I’m just pushing up the bridge of my nose because I forgot that my glasses are in my hand!”).

Contact lenses offer none of these advantages, but I did wear them for two or three months in 12th grade. My grandma came to visit, and she decided that I should pull my hair back, wear shirts designed for girls, and stop hiding my face with glasses. I didn’t know about the third one until a week later when my mom told me she had scheduled an eye appointment. “Grandma says you want to get contacts,” she said.

Thanks to my wily grandma, I got to spend two hours sitting at a mirror while the doctor tried to teach me how to put in my new contacts. He eventually called his wife to say he would be late for dinner because I couldn’t make my eyes stop closing when foreign objects approached them.

The thing is, when my eyes get irritated, everything else on my face joins in. It’s like they send out an invitation, and then my nose says, “Cool, a party! What can I bring?” and my eyes say, “Fluids! Check out the great ones we’ve got so far.” And then my nose is all, “I have some I’ve been saving,” and my mouth goes, “Don’t forget about me!”

Finally, I got both contacts in and was allowed to go home with two boxes of fancy little lens bottles and the prospect of going through this process again every morning.

So I set my alarm an hour early and prepared to conquer nearsightedness. I took my stance in front of the mirror, unscrewed my little case, and stabbed fingers at my face for twenty minutes until one eye submitted. By the time my hour was up, I had been reduced to shouting at my eyelids: “OPEN UP! I’m just trying to insert little pieces of plastic that could potentially trap bacteria or weld to my corneas. WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?” I spent the next eight weeks arriving at school like this:

Between expiration dates, carelessness, and fits of rage, I ran out of lenses before the school year ended. Grandma never said another word about my glasses.

* I can’t get over how cool it is that people read this who don’t actually know me. Thank you very, very much. Also, thank you to the people who do know me—I’m pleased that the blackmail is working.


  1. In the transfer to contacts from glasses a couple of years ago, my avoidance tactic became my phone. See somebody you don't want to talk to, you suddenly have a call to answer and don't notice them.

  2. i went through the same thing with the contacts. i thought i'd never learn to put them in.

  3. Clara, I love you. That is all.

  4. Yeah, learning to put on contacts was difficult for me but rather than wait for me I swear the eye person was just going to call it quits on me if I didn't tell her that I wasn't going to leave until I got it down.