For years, I've taken for granted, the ability to read without glasses. The finest print was crystal clear at very close range, while the distance was a pleasant blur. When others brought out their reading glasses, I could take off mine. I took this for granted.
The tradeoff began somewhere in adolescence, when my eyes were ever more drawn to the budding beauties of the seventh grade, and, only in my dreams, could I imagine getting close enough for a really crystal clear view. This would have brought me uncomfortably close to the unknowing objects of my desire, and a certain rebuff, possibly lead to delicious delinquency. I maintained my distance....and got glasses. From that point forward, they were my constant companion.
Growing up in Chicago, playing tennis in my desperate attempt to become a letterman, still in pursuit of those lovely young ladies, I was now battling condensation and sweat. Between points, I had to dry off my glasses. The sweat dripped into my eyes, and the glasses repeatedly fogged over. Soap applied to the glass helped to defeat the fog, but the glasses were a definite liability on the tennis courts.
I passed my driving test, with glasses, of course. I couldn't have found the car, without glasses.
August 1952, and now in California. Still playing tennis, acquiring that treasured letter, and still, no girl within reach. At least none that I was aware of. But the humidity was less and the glasses were less of a problem playing tennis. The opponents were a greater problem, and a Chicago City Team Championship with appropriate chenille badges and the coveted "R" languished in the closet. I never even bought a letterman's sweater for my Hamilton High School "H" because I was headed for college... UCLA.... The epicenter of college tennis, at the time, and not a chance in the world for making the team....but there sure were a lot of very lovely coeds who looked crystal clear in my myopia correcting lenses.
It was actually on the tennis court that I met the first girl who was going to present a challenge and a choice. Her name was Donna, and she was a senior at Marlborough, a rather hoity-toity private school. I was a freshman, plodding through the treacherous path of pre-medical studies at UCLA. On the tennis courts at Roxbury Park, I must have been a college boy and that must have been my chief attraction. Well, maybe it was my backhand. Or my willingness to teach this young lady a bit on the court, and my ability to hide my desire to explore a different area, off the court.
Patience and good fortune were with me, and we went off on a series of dates. This was my first real experience of dating. I was driving my dad's 1952 light blue Plymouth Cambridge, and off to movies like, "The High and the Mighty," and "Friendly Persuasion," and to exotic restaurants that served pizza. Chicago's Albany Park, in the 1950's, had plenty of delicatessens, and Chinese restaurants, but I can't remember seeing a pizza place.
And somewhere, in the Hollywood Hills, overlooking Beverly Hills, where Donna lived, we parked, and, for the first time in my life, I was about to trade distant vision for a crystal clear closeup of half-closed eyes and the lips I had been dreaming about. I took off my glasses, and the lights of the city disappeared into a blurry haze of color and distant flashes.
The clarity of myopia has kept those objects of affection and lust close by ever since, the objects of desire changing through my life, but the proximity defining the need for glasses or not. The awkward announcement of my intentions, that gesture of removing my glasses, has long since felt more and more natural, even through the many years and many objects of affection who witnessed this ritual, changed over time, and maturity.
25 wonderful years with Lin, and what a wonderful treat to my eyes from across the room, without lens. And she truly loves my blue eyes! And she's never too far for that wonderful compensation for farsightedness.... the delicious closeness of touch. Hooray for touch! I'll adjust to glasses for reading.