I’m not sure what it was. It could be my earlier post, or maybe it was just that I’d finally had enough of this constant headache that I get from trying to focus my gaze inbetween the teeny splotches all over my lenses. But today, I bit the bullet, and went to pick out new glasses.
First, I considered all of my options. I could just get new lenses, because I like my frames just fine. But, the earpieces are actually worn enough above my ears that they cut into my head. Also I can’t give up the glasses for the time required to get the new lenses cut, on account of I broke the previous pair, and the pair before that has the wrong prescription. So unless I want to wear my sunglasses all day and all night for a week, that’s not a fabulous choice. Then I considered going to Ye Olde Optical Cattle Market where they will give me a 20% discount with my health insurance, but the trip itself and the waiting and the crowd and the abysmal selection stands a good chance of sending me over the edge.
Then I spent a moment considering lasik. I’d almost convinced myself that the whole getting-my-eyeball-sliced thing was tolerable, but then I remembered how much it costs. Alrighty then.
I settled on returning to the small specialty optical place where we got Chickadee’s last pair of glasses.
Chickadee has worn glasses since before she turned two. We got her first pair at a children’s specialty optical shop down in Boston. Two years later, when she was four, we sought a new pair of frames in vain. I was loathe to make yet another trip to the city just for frames, yet the local Optical Cattle Market didn’t carry a single pair of frames in a size small enough for her. Not poor selection; no selection. In addition to being astonishingly brilliant and cute, Chickadee has a very narrow face, even for her age and size. In desperation, I had the Optical Cattle Market order an identical pair of frames for her new glasses. This served two purposes; first, it was a style we liked that we knew fit her, and second, it meant that the next time she needed new lenses, we could drop off the “spare” pair for cutting and fitting, and then swap the finished lenses to the newer frames. Happiness all around.
When Chickadee turned six, I had hoped that she had grown enough that she would be able to choose from the array of standard children’s sizes at Optical Cattle Market. No dice. Again we searched in vain, and this time, Chickadee was heartbroken. “I’ve had the same glasses for four years,” she wailed. “I want something new!” Fair enough, I thought. I undertook a search of epic proportions in our area, and promised her that if we couldn’t find anything locally, we would make the trek to Boston.
It was during this search that I found the small specialty shop. Fabulous selection. Fair prices. And–most importantly–the very best customer service I have ever encountered. They promised to find us something or order new stock until we found something we liked. The owner worked with us, and made Chickadee laugh while he did (no small feat with the Princess of Standoffishness). Chickadee found THE frame she wanted… and they had a small scratch. I asked if they could order new ones. Nope, sorry; that’s a discontinued style. But that means we can offer you a heckuva deal. They didn’t lie. That was the cheapest pair of glasses I’ve ever purchased for her. They were ready in record time. He did the honors with the sparkly nailpolish (our solution to the scratch). He’s already fixed them for her twice. And at last count I think she had about three cases from there, as well as a Hello Kitty bracelet.
Good service is becoming an endangered species in today’s world. The last time I was there, I told the owner: I don’t have much money right now, but when I’m ready to replace my glasses, I’ll come back.
I still don’t have much money. But I went back, anyway, because he earned my business.
And it’s a good thing he did. Because once I told him I was ready to look for new frames, he told me what he really thinks about my current frames. Ouch. Did you know? These are boring. They do nothing for me, they drag my face down, they are old-ladyish! Um, these are the most hip frames I’ve ever had, I insisted.
That may be, he answered. But that doesn’t mean they are hip.
Good thing I have all those oodles of extra self-esteem laying around so that this encounter slid right off my back. No, really, I’m fine. I am just curled up in a fetal position in the corner because, um, I’m basking in self-love. I’ll be done in a few minutes, if you want to come back later.
Anyway. He made me try on all sorts of frames I never would’ve picked up. What with how boring and old and face-draggy I am, and everything. But he totally respected my caveat that I couldn’t even look at the expensive frames, and only offered me choices from the lower-priced lines. One pair? Was orange. OR. ANGE. Have mercy.
I was the only one in the store, and we quibbled over styles for quite a while. I don’t know about these, I would venture, peeking into the mirror at my foreign-looking reflection. (As anyone who wears glasses knows, part of the problem with picking frames is that–hello!–you can’t see without your glasses on, which renders the whole evaluating the new look thing kinda difficult.) Those are fabulous, he would answer. You look younger, and thinner, and totally sexy. I must say, they did sort of grow on me when I happened to catch my reflection laughing hysterically. I mean it, he insisted. Great! I said. I’ll take two pairs of those, and a couple of pairs of the “very rich” and “getting laid on a regular basis” frames, too!
Now, you’d think that exchanges such as these would’ve been the highlight of my trip. But I am here to tell you that they were not. The best part of this visit came shortly after I walked through the door, when I was explaining that the reason I need new glasses is because I am a horrible person and I wipe my glasses on my shirt, and this has caused the anti-reflective coating to peel off in a bizarre spotty manner. The optician took my glasses, cleaned them with official spray and a special cloth, and then held them up to the light for inspection.
“This isn’t from being wiped on your clothing,” he said, “so don’t worry about that. It’s corrosion.”
“Oh, good. Huh?”
“Corrosion. I’ve seen this before. Do you use hairspray?”
“See the pattern, like a fine mist of dots? That’s hairspray that was allowed to settle on the lenses and wasn’t cleaned off promptly. It eats through the coating after a while.”
Let’s just break that down, shall we? I spray something on my head that is capable of corroding my glasses. Once that had properly sunk in, I stopped being pissed off about my glasses, and started being really grateful that I’m not bald.
After about 45 minutes, I picked my new frames. The price was fair, I guess. (That is to say, I need to take a second mortgage to pay for them, but such is life with lousy vision.) Best of all, I was assured that I will just love the new, daring me! I’ll take a picture when they come in, maybe. But if my hair looks crappy you are not allowed to say a single word. I had to promise to throw out my hairspray.