The decline was gradual, I suppose. The day my boss laughingly offered to hold a page of small print farther away so that I could read it. The afternoon sitting at my kitchen table grading a stack of essays and realizing, damn, that writing looks blurry. Going to Walgreens and buying the first pair of readers. I only needed them if I had a lot of grading to do, or if the text I was reading was particularly small.
The cheaters culture was not new, my husband began buying the 5 packs of cheap wire-rims at Costco years before. I had even used them a few times (when the light was dim, mind you) to read particularly small cooking instructions. Many of my English teacher colleagues sported them, perched atop their heads or hanging around their necks. English teachers are constantly reading, it’s no wonder that type of abuse (when’s the last time you read 150 essays hand written by 17 year-olds?) finally takes its toll.
But then I had to buy the next level up in magnification, and one pair wasn’t going to cut it. I needed a pair at work, at home and in my purse.
And then I developed preferences. No nose pads on the bridge, they got caught in my hair if I put them on top of my head. Narrow frames for my poolside glasses, because I actually wear them over my sunglasses because the sunglass-readers don’t have the right sweet spot built in for reading in the pool.
And then, a few weeks ago, it happened. I used to be able to see the computer screen just fine au natural. Not so much anymore. The problem is that I don’t need as much magnification for the monitor as I do if I’m looking at pages of text. The good news was I still had old cheaters that were weaker, I didn’t have to add to my collection, but the process of moving from text to the computer and back has become a bit…cumbersome.
I’m not a quitter, though. I see perfectly fine at distances past 2 feet (within that 2 foot zone everything has to be adjusted for light and text size), but I have no intention of making an appointment with Lenscrafters anytime soon, even if the eye exam is free.
Besides, my little problem is a source of joy for my colleagues. When I am patting my head they laugh and tell me, “They’re on the table.” Every once in a while someone finds a stray pair and they know where to return them. One day my boss took the picture that is the header on this post and Tweeted it with the comment “Menopausal reader-need problems. That’s how @___ does it!”
That’s fine. He’s younger than I am, and last year he had to “upgrade” to progressives.