Double Vision 

This time last week, I pulled into the carpark of a major shopping centre so I could go and pick up two new sets of reading glasses. My health fund, which extracts huge lumps of cash on a fortnightly basis from my bank account for my and my husband’s health cover, is not something I have had much call to use, yet – thank god and we have a pretty good public health system in Australia. You need health cover for teeth and eyes,  really and as I hate the dentist, I mainly use mine for the former.

A check up for glasses is recommended every two years but the cover gives us an annual opportunity for a rebate, so being new to glasses and the novelty not having worn quite off yet, I decided to get another pair (buy one get one free) in the ‘off’ year, so I would have a couple of spares. I also encouraged my husband to do the same, even though his are more expensive as he has vari-focal lenses (mine are just readers).

The shop we go to is one in a major chain but the staff there are really nice and they seem to have a deliberate policy of not trying to up-sell you stuff. They are playing the long game and as far as I am concerned, they are welcome to my business as a result. The optician said to me the first time, ‘You just need reading glasses for now, no need for expensive lenses.’ Smart man. Not only did I move my husband to this store for his glasses, but I ordered glasses in my off year (two pairs of $129. Frames at 50% off with rebate = $29.50) becuse I did not mind giving them the business. They were also super helpful when my husband’s glasses got run over and destroyed only weeks after he had bought them and found him a 50% off coupon because his health fund was all used up.

I did not even have to check the appointment card as I knew the pick up date was June 1st. I remembered watching the young girl write it on the back of the card in handwriting that made me suspect instantly that she had been a solid C plus, B minus student at school. She had very helpfully found my prescription and the exact two pairs I had bought before, which I had been happy with and I was able to order them without having to spend hours gaping at myself as I tried on frames and then enter that weird cycle when you put on a pair and then say, ‘Oh no, I tried these on before, didn’t I?’ And, ‘Oh I like these better than those, but hang on were those rounder? Oh no, maybe they are better.’ You must need super human patience to work in a spectacle shop and watch every single customer do that.

The problem was last week was not June 1st. Last week was still May, but I had done that weird thing when even though I knew the date, and I knew when I was due to pick the glasses up, I had just squooshed them both into the idea of ‘Thursday’. As soon as I got out of my car, I stood in the car park, realised I was being an idiot and drove back home, empty handed.

Tonight, though I am wearing my new glasses as I type this, which look exactly the same as my old glasses. I now have enough pairs to have one in the living room, one by the bed, one in my handbag and one on my desk at work. The old reading glasses I have off the shelf from chemists are scattered around in the kitchen, on the dining room table and in the bag I take to walk the dogs. Basically I have glasses everywhere, so basically I have no excuse not to write. Bring on the long weekend, I am going in with my eyes open – all four of them


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