Looking At You


Oringaly Published May 2005

Getting older is a pain in the butt.  I had perfect vision when I was younger.  I could see a gnat on the wing of a hummingbird at 200 yards. That stopped when I turned 45. It was a Saturday afternoon at 2:32 pm. I was working on my stereo equipment on the dining room table. I worked there because it was the only place that had a light over it. The bulb seemed dimmer that day and I couldn’t see the circuit board clearly. I needed a magnifying glass and someone to hold it for me. Since I was alone, I cleverly decided to get a pair of reading glasses from the local drug store. Mind you, it was just to finish this project. I didn’t need them for anything else.

Then I began to notice that my arms were shrinking. I couldn’t hold the newspaper far enough away to read it. I thought, “OK. Maybe I’ll use those readers for the classifieds.” I’ve had reading glasses ever since. I’ve bought dozens. Every time I needed them, they would disappear from where I’d left them, so I’d run down to the store and buy another pair. Anne usually would greet me at the front door with the missing pair in hand. She'd claim she found them but I actually think she delights in hiding them. I began to buy them by the six-pack and scatter them all over the house. That way I don’t have to listen to her taunts. If I find a pair she stashed, I return it to the pile on my desk and say nothing.

I finally gave in and went to an optometrist for a ‘real’ pair of prescription glasses. Driving became a problem. Without readers, I couldn’t see the car gauges and with them on, the road was blurry. I decided I needed a pair of (shudder) bifocals. Those were going to solve all of my problems. I got a pair of progressive lenses so no one could tag me as an old codger (like that would be their first clue). When I drove with them the first time, everything worked as planned and the world was perfect. Then I sat down at my computer. To read the screen, I had to tilt my head back and look down along my cheeks. They weren’t good for any other kind of work either. These glasses were only good for driving.

I soon began buying glasses for specific tasks. I bought three pair for computer work. Those are supposed to stay on my desk but they mysteriously migrate other places after dark. I have stronger pairs for reading the paper. For the really fine print, I’ll even wear two pair; one over the other. I keep my strongest pair with my camera equipment for focusing on the ground glass.

When I arrive at a shot, I normally have my driving glasses on. Those are good enough to set up and get everything in place. Then I take those off, hang them on the front of my shirt, and dig out another pair in my vest to compose and focus. For critical focusing, I take the second pair off to use my loupe. I put the ‘camera’ glasses back on to finish up the shot.

Once, my friend Russ Good and I were on a shoot south of Tucson. I’d decided to climb to the top of his motor home so I could be high enough to shoot over a wall. I was finished focusing when I reached for my glasses that I had hung on my shirt front. They weren’t there. I began rummaging through my camera bag and vest getting the same results. Exasperated, I dumped everything out of my bag and soon had camera equipment strewn all over the top the Russ-Bus. I yelled down to him to see if he had a pair I could use. “Yep, but their fours” he shouted back and went inside to get them.

He tossed them up (I haven’t seen a pair of rhinestone cat eyes like these in 30 years) and I put them on and returned to the shot at hand. Although they were twice the strength of mine they worked near field surprisingly well.  I finished my set-up and backed out of the dark-cloth when Russ yelled something.

“What?” I asked.

“Your about to loose your glasses,” he shouted again from the blur below.

“I already did.”

“No. I mean the ones on the back of your head.”

I reached to the back of my head and captured the missing photo glasses before they succumbed to gravity.

“Anne!” I thought to myself. “How does she do that?”

Till next month.
jw