“I write,” I said.
I went to the optomotrist yesterday to get another pair of glasses to wear about the farm. My present pair are about 10 years old and bedraggled. I just wanted a replacement.
“You are not from round here?” he said in response to my accent.
“Oh Yes.” I said, “I live on a farm about 20 miles that way”. I pointed at his East wall. His brow furrowed trying to think of a delicate way to say but you sound foreign.
“But the Olympics were in London.”
“Yes,” I nodded.
He looked back at my chart.
His head came up and he looked at me hard. “Who is your doctor then?”
“I don’t have a doctor.”
He shook his head. “You must have a doctor.”
“But I am never sick.”
“You don’t have a family doctor? What about your wellness checks.”
“But I AM well. I don’t need checking. Everyone has an imperfect body. No-one is in perfect health. Wellness check is such a strange expression anyway.”
The optometrist stood and began to shuffle about with strange looking instruments of torture.
I carried on. “That is like going to a car salesman and saying do you think I need a new car. Of course he will say you need a new car. But I am happy with my imperfect car. I mean body. It is all so confusing. I knew a funeral director once who always said Be Well, just before he said good bye to people. I mean it was obvious that what he meant was ‘be well until you drop dead and then I will bury you for a fee.’ Then he would pass them his card with the little cross and drawing of a casket on it. Hoping they would leave it lying about in an obvious place in case they dropped dead in the night. People don’t say what they mean anymore. Euphemisms rule. ”
“Well. he said into the pointed silence. “I feel I should encourage you to get a doctor and check on your blood pressure and so forth. It is a concern”.
“What is a concern is that Americans don’t use cutlery anymore.” The gloves were off.
“You mean we eat with our hands?”
“That too.” My eyes widened in horror “But no-one uses a knife and fork that I can see. When did you evolve to just using a fork. Who decided not to offer knives at the table. Some people even cut their food with a fork, with a lot of difficulty I might add. I have met people who cannot even Hold a knife”
Then he swung the peculiar glasses mask in front of my face, and we began Guess That Letter.
Later as he made the last of his notes.
“So. Do you read?”
“Oh yes.” I said and smiled. “I read all the books I can get my hands on. I read everything. I can quote the Weetbix box, verbatim.”
“What kind of books do you read.” He asks.
“Oh, well, um.. all of them. I read anything that comes into the house or anyone elses house for that matter.”
“You don’t have a preference?”
“No. Well, I like colourful covers. I pretty much choose books because for their covers, I like orange covers the best. Though, I prefer my books to have words in them.” I picked up my shoulder bag with its notebook, book and purse.
“Words,” he said?
“Words. Words. Words” I said standing back so he could open the door for me. “I don’t like cartoons I mean.”
“Oh,” he said. Relieved. “Well. Your eyes are in perfect health and your prescription has not changed by the way.”
I smiled at his back as he led me to the front. Perfect health you say. But I did not say it aloud.
“I have these old frames of my Mother in Laws I would like to use these please.” The whole lobby went silent and all eyes turned to me now standing at the counter. “New frames are way too expensive and I only use them on the farm anyway. These are only two years old and quite strong.”
The optometrist smiled with delight, handed me over to his dour assistant and made his hurried goodbyes.
“But these are not Our frames. We can’t do that. You will need to choose a new pair.” She attempted to give them back to me. I folded my hands on my purse.
“No, that is fine. I want to use these old frames. I would prefer to recycle these ones. They are perfectly good.”
“We don’t do that in this country.” I let my head drop to one side letting her words sit in the air for a few seconds “Well, I will have to check.”
“Oh I think it will be alright. It is a simple prescription. These technicians know what they are doing.”
“But we can’t guarantee them.”
“But if you break them, we will not pay to fix them.”
“Thats fine. I promise to be careful. I can’t guarantee I won’t break either. It will be OK. These frames cost three hundred dollars. I am not having them just thrown away, I want to reuse them. Can you do this?”
“Well. I will have to check.”
“Good. You will call me when they are done?” I put my head back down to write the check. Trying not to catch the eye of the optomotrist who I could see was grinning to me from his office, just out of sight of his beleaguered assistant. I raised my eyebrow ever so slightly in his direction. He snorted a slight chortle and bent back to his work.
Good morning. I hope you all have a fab day. We are going to have another lovely day.
On this day a year ago. I found a stunning bridge on route 66. Not far from here.