a sight for sore eyes

There’s a graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that shows the average unemployed student spends about 26% of his weekday on school-related activities. From this, I can deduce that the other 74% of my time I spend complaining, because I am certainly not spending it on any of the other listed activities, like exercise and social activities and sleep.

Now that break has begun, though, my schedule reads more like 40% sleep, 60% eating, and 60% contacts. Basically, I spend my waking hours compulsively eating Four Cheese Cheez-Its and obsessing over my new vision.

I think that’s understandable, though, given how much effort I spent to achieve it. (My 20/20 vision, I mean. There was absolutely no effort necessary to obtain these Cheez-Its, which I suppose is the root of my problem.)

Tuesday, 3:35 PM, Optometrist

The receptionist, as she wipes off a panel of a terrifying eye-test-machine, directs me to sit in a plastic chair with a back so rounded it could only have been made to seat a bowling ball. “Insert your face here,” she says.

That’s not something you hear every day. But because my vision has degenerated to impossible levels from not having worn my correction lenses for almost a week—a necessary first step in transitioning to legitimate contacts that actually work—I obey without question.

A small image of a colorful hot-air balloon sharpens and blurs repeatedly before my eyes as she adjusts some knobs. “Wider,” she says. I widen my eyes.


“Excuse me,” I say, “I think I was just born this—”



We move on to the next machine. This time, I’m told to focus on a red light. There’s a green light in my peripherals, too, and I wonder if this might be some secret continuation of my driver’s test. But this machine seems familiar. Wait. Is this not the same machine that, last time—

Something black shoots out of the eyepiece and PUNCHES ME IN THE EYE. “Ow,” I yell, recoiling. I shoot the lady a betrayed look, but she is unmoved.

“Wider,” she says.

3:50 PM

“… And you just put them in, but not the same way you do hard lenses,” the doctor finishes, holding out the set of soft contacts and retreating into the backroom to talk to another patient.

I unscrew the lid and retrieve the right contact. Plastered on my solution-covered finger, the lens seems barely there. I can’t feel its presence at all, which is a marked difference from hard correction contacts. “This looks bigger than my entire eyeball,” I tell Mom.


I’m practically wailing at this point. “Why isn’t it going in??”

“You’re trying to use your old method of sticking in hard contacts and just hoping they land in the right place,” Mom remarks.

“I don’t need this commentary,” I hiss through indignant sniffs.

Much Later

I blink, flabbergasted. The contact is no longer on my finger. “I… did it? I DID IT I DID IT I—”

“You dropped it,” Mom snaps.

Much, Much Later

The doctor stops by. “How are we doing?”

“Great!” I exclaim, proud that I have finally inserted the contact into my right eye.

“So we can start taking them out now?”

Time Ceases to Have Meaning

“I think we’ll be staying here for the night,” I say into the mirror. Staring back at me is a set of bloodshot, disappointed eyes. I don’t get what they have to be so disappointed about, considering that they’re the ones too small for me to work with.  It takes two to tango.

I try again halfheartedly. My left eyelid accidentally slips out of my grasp and, somehow, the contact shoots out.

We stare in bewilderment before I shrug. “Hey, I’ll take it.

I’m not even exaggerating when I say it took around 50 tries for me to get those contacts in and out. In fact, that’s probably an underestimate.

I would get Mom to corroborate my story if I didn’t think she’d object to my “defamatory word choice” of “snaps.”

2 thoughts on “a sight for sore eyes

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