The missus came with me to the appointment because it was going to end with me selecting a new pair of specs and I’m not allowed to buy anything I wear without the permission of a daughter or spouse. Given that I’ve bought some ridiculous articles of mis-matched, ill-fitting, wrong-sized clothing over the years, I have no objection to this policy.
I was greeted in the waiting room by a 3rd year intern named Lily who would perform my exam. Without fail my exams have been done by Asian Americans, usually female. I offer this as a fact without comment. They are always unfailingly nice and quite competent and I never hesitate at putting my peepers in their care. Lily may have been the best I’ve (I started to write “best I’ve had” but that sounds sexual, then I thought of “best I’ve been with” which also had a connotation, next I considered “best to be checked out by” and that was hardly better, just hang on a second and I’ll think of way to get myself out of this mess……) been examined by. (Even that could be taken the wrong way but only by someone with a dirty mind.)
Lily constantly complimented me for my cooperativeness and the overall health of my eyes. When I told her I’d been up late studying for my eye exam she laughed like she’d never heard that one before. I don’t know, maybe she hadn’t. What she had was a natural talent for her work. Gentle and clear with her instructions. This is important. I am partial to my baby blues, I've seen some beautiful sights such as my aforementioned life partner. So I like to know that they're in good hands -- uh, so to speak.
During eye exams I like reading the lines, gives me a sense of accomplishment when I get the letters right and if I'm wrong, well there's no shame in that. The "which is clearer, one or two?" business used to feel like too much pressure, as if I risked giving the wrong answer. I tend not to worry about it anymore. I've learned to trust my initial reaction.
At some point in these examinations the consulting doctor comes in to make sure the patient is getting her or his money’s worth and any diagnosis the student has made is spot on. Invariably the doctor is jovial but business-like old fellow in his late 50s with either a bit of pot belly or without much hair. Did I say invariably? The doc who walked in was no crusty old man. First of all she was a she. Secondly she was young. Also she was a looker (I guess that’s an optometry pun too). Actually if you had told me she was a senior at the university and head of our sorority I wouldn’t have blinked (again with the puns).
Of course I’m blissfully happily married so a pretty woman can’t turn my head, well not very far anyway. But I really liked the fact that a preconception was shot all to hell. Like the time I walked by two Cal basketball players who were discussing calculus. Or the time I heard some nerdy sounding teenager in the gym eagerly discussing Harry Potter only for the speaker to reveal himself to be a tall, muscular African American with long dreads. I like such surprises. So many people are too damned predictable.
The doctor confirmed Lily’s observation that I had a “freckle” on my eye that was of no immediate concern especially as it had been noted before and hadn’t grown since. If it ever does expand it will require closer scrutiny. Both the doctor and Lily failed to note how beautiful my eyes are. This is mildly disappointing as I've enjoyed compliments about these orbs my whole life. Maybe that's a no no in the optometry racket.
Of course I had gook put in my eyes so that my pupils would dilate. There’s nothing pleasant about someone dropping liquid into your eyes but Lily handled it with aplomb. I predict that the lass will someday be an excellent optometrist. Someday soon. Of course I’m partial to people in the medical profession who describe me as “a good patient.” My dentist recently did which surprised me given how squirmy I can be. But she pointed out that I never complain and have a good sense of humor. No psychiatrist has called me a good patient — yet. They've all thought I’m nuts (psychiatric pun).
Finally it was time for my lovely wife and another charming intern, Ben, (Ben spoke highly of Lily so maybe they're a couple, if so it's a good match, mazel gov) to help me select new glasses. I don’t have a face that is well suited for glasses, nor for wearing hats and the combination of the two is a disaster. Nonetheless I need glasses for distances and I was determined, as always, to make the best of it and find a pair that wouldn’t totally ruin my boyish good looks.
This was accomplished in 20 minutes or so and all that was left was paying the bill and getting our of Dodge.
Going in for an eye exam and then selecting new blinkers generally fits into the category of a chore. Yet I had a splendid time. I like being around competent, happy people who derive pleasure from serving me. They inspire me, in turn, to be as charming and agreeable as possible. Given how cranky I often am, this is a mean feat. Throw into that the selection of something that will be adorning my face and the entire outing can be surprisingly enjoyable.
From there my darling wife and I ran a few more errands on my behalf including the purchase of noise canceling head phones (I’m loving them) and four pairs of socks. Argyle.
We returned to our humble abode where I watched a movie and she made dinner. That wife of mine is aces.
Postscript. Today I did the on line survey UC Optometry sent regarding my visit. I gladly gave them raves. But they replied by asking if I'd share some of my nice comments on Yelp. Kinna pushing it, I thought.