When I was about thirty years old I got contact lenses. I’m very near-sighted with bad astigmatism and thought I’d never be rid of my Coke bottle bottom specs. I inherited my eyesight from Dad, but guess what? He had contact lenses. If he had them, why not me? People with our kind of eyes have a bit of a tough slog initially but vanity is a cruel mistress and she beat me into this. But over the years I’ve had few problems with my lenses and have only had to get new ones a few times. Each time, though, the prescription for my rigid gas permeables is just different enough that my eyeballs have to adjust making mishaps a real possibility.
Once, in Sears, I looked sideways and a new lense went the other way rendering me kind of google-eyed as I tried to get it back into place without actually popping it out. One second I could see clearly and the next not so much. Another time I inhaled sharply as I popped a lense out and sucked the little bugger part way up my nose. I was so glad to be in my own bathroom that time instead of at the mall!
But the very worst episode with a pair of new lenses happened on a family trip to Howe’s Cavern. A great place to take family and visitors, by the way. I’d recommend it the next time you visit upstate New York. Anyway, we did the whole tour thing and the gift shop - of course. Then the men and kids began whining for lunch. We opted for the Burger King we’d spotted on the drive up.
Well, the King had just added a new humdinger of a burger to his menu and I ordered it. Two burgers, bacon, jalepeno peppers, blue cheese dressing, lettuce, tomato, and a kitchen sink was it? Can’t quite remember but I couldn’t wait to dig in. When we all had our orders we had to commandeer several tables to seat everyone. I sat down opposite my son, Carl, who was on and off wrestling with his five month old daughter. He set his meal on the table and set her firmly on his lap.
I unwrapped my humdinger. I splurted some ketchup onto my fries. I sipped my soda and was half way through my first big bite of burger when two things happened at once. My granddaughter grabbed her dad’s French fry box and yanked. I looked up too fast, my lense went wonky and I went google eyed. I froze as I always do when I lose a lense. I rolled my eyes because sometimes it gets lost in there and you can feel it in another part of your eye. But soon enough I felt it somewhere else – with my tongue! My new light blue lense was in amongst my two burgers, bacon, jalepeno peppers, blue cheese dressing, lettuce, tomato, and the kitchen sink. Oh . . . No!
I looked around with my clear eye. The restaurant was full of families, old people, teens, all laughing, munching, ordering, and there I sat wondering how the devil I was going to discreetly pull that lense out of the mush in my mouth. It would be disasterous to keep chewing or Gasp - swallowing. I sat there with my chipmunk cheeks full of burger mush not wanting to risk the chore of pulling the lense out of some other cheeks later. Yuck.
I ducked my head and slipped my finger into my mouth. Fished around a little. My son stared at me as he gathered his fries. I wondered if my little blue lense had fallen in love with a hunk of jalepeno and they were hiding out in a back molar, but I finally found her, dragged her out, and plopped her on the burger wrapper.
“What’s wrong,” Carl asked.
“Nothing, I’m good. Eat your fries.”
My relief was immense! And I managed to finish my bite of burger. But then I looked at my poor lense sitting there all drippy like and knew what I had to do next. I had to put it back into my mouth. Every lense wearer does this! Yes – it’s the emergency clean spit method. Even Jesus used it once so don’t judge me here. Anyway, I swished some soda and ice around to clean my mouth, picked up the lense and gingerly put it on my tongue. I spit cleaned it as best I could, ducked my head again, popped it back in and went on with lunch. Like nothing had really happened here, people, eat your whopper.
That was about three years ago and I have to say, my little blue lenses have behaved themselves ever since. No more hiding out in my back molars with Senor Jalepeno. I'm so glad.
Image: Grant Cochrane Free Digital Images