Friday, September 25, 2009

Four Eyes

For most of my life to date, I've had the good fortune to have well-shaped and highly functional eyeballs, but recently I found myself muttering grumpy-old-mannish things along the lines of "Godammit! Why do they have to make the print so small?" and I began to wonder if the gig was up. It has proven so, and at last I've joined the club of the four-eyes.

As a newcomer, I've got to say, it's a weird business, a crazy crash course in how the brain processes visual signals. Because thus far when I'm wearing my new glasses, it doesn't process them particularly well. The new visual stimuli are definitely sharper, but they're also oddly reconfigured and shift slightly when I move my head and just generally don't quite match up with my Internal Sense of How the World Is Shaped.

So I keep thinking the ground is way closer than it used to be and have to try to hard not to walk with a weird clippity-cloppity horsey gait, repeatedly expecting my foot to land long before it actually does (like when you walk up the stairs at night in the dark and miscount the steps and flub the last one and clunk awkwardly down on the landing).

And then there's the aesthetic strangeness. Glasses usually belong to the Class of External Things That Become Assimilated Into and Identified With the Self, but I'm not quite there yet, and in the transitional interim they belong to the Class of External Things That... Whoah! What the Hell Is That Doing on My Face? I find myself getting startled by my own reflection: "Whoah! Who the hell is that sitting in my car in my driver's seat exactly right where I'm sitting right now?" And I catch my wife and daughters shooting me quizzical sideways glances, clearly pondering their own formulations of the "Whoah! Who the hell is that...?" question.

But presumably, with time, my brain will work out the kinks in the spatial mapping, and my face will make friends with its new acquaintance, and I'll stop clippity-clopping, and I'll stop being startled by mirrors, and my family will decide that I'm not an impostor, and I'll learn to appreciate my new ability to elude fights with bullies by saying, "You wouldn't hit a man with glasses, would you?" and all will be right-as-rain.

Weird business.

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:19 AM

    I just got new glasses this week. The first hour was weird. It was a bit hard to keep my balance because things weren'tt exactly in their places, or so it seemed. So when I walked it was a tiny bit like being sea-sick -- slightly nauseated. But it cleared up within a hour or so. The brain is a miracle of adaptation :-)

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  2. new profile picture?

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  3. craic-head2:45 PM

    So wait...are you farsighted or nearsighted?
    If it's newspaper print that's giving you trouble, I'm guessing farsighted...but then, you're wearing your glasses for driving - so, what's the scoop?

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  4. photo of Four-eyes Slim, please!

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  5. Yes, you with glasses, picture please!

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  6. Francine10:44 PM

    oh yes - drawing please! Considering you have developed such an iconic wardrobe/ uniform, I would imaging there was considerable deliberation here. I'm trying to visualize Slim's ultimate choice of specs. And - are they ironic?

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  7. Teresa12:28 PM

    Ditto Francine. I'd like to see a post about the glasses selection process, please.

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