Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I suck at eye exams. I wish I could study for them.

I arrive at my eye doctor’s office yesterday and I’m nervous like I always am. I know I need a new prescription. My vision is not perfect with my contacts. At night I drive like a grandma if she was a cab driver. I can’t see, but I drive fast anyway, I have places to go. I’m nervous. I fail eye exams as consistently as I failed my algebra tests. And it’s not my eyes fault. Sure, I’m about as blind as one can be without it being legally declared. If you put me out on the streets with no vision aids and I might as well start pandering like a homeless woman. But it’s me that screws up these tests and I sort of think everyone in the office is out to get me. Okay, that’s paranoid and maybe a bit of exaggeration. Listen to the evidence and draw your own conclusions.

So the first thing I have to do is take out my contacts. A very nice female assistant take me to a room to do this. No problem.

“Here’s a new case,” She says and disappears out the door. For some reason I always forget about the logistics of this part. I never remember to bring my glasses (Fail number one). So my contacts are out and I’m standing in this room feeling about as helpless as a newborn baby. I wait for her to come back. Nothing. I look out the door and all I see is a blotches of the bland beige decor and about six blue blobs walking around. The chick helping me is one of those blue blobs. I feel like an idiot. Don’t they know that without my contacts it’s about as clear looking through a fogged up window?? So I sit myself down in a chair and stare at my lap figuring someone will get me when I’m ready.
“Beth Navarro,” I hear my blue blob call from across the room.
I sigh loudly. Don’t mind me. I can make it through your maze of chairs and planters. No problem. I knock over a few magazine hanging off the coffee table to emphasize my point (yeah I know totally dramatic, but I was PMS-ing too).
I walk into the room and sigh again. I forgot about this part. The glaucoma test. The stupid glaucoma test.
“My favorite,” I say. She just smiles and tells me to put my head against the forehead rest.
“Keep your eyes open. Just a small puff,” She says. I can hear her smiling. I am convinced this test means nothing and it’s just to mess with people. “Focus on the red dot.”
I do. I’m straining to keep my eyes open even though I know what’s coming. It’s like holding your eyes open when someone is shaking out a beach towel. Totally against your instincts. This is just torture.
“Oh no, you blinked!” She said all cheerfully (Fail number 2). No shit. You are blowing air into my eye.

After the third time it finally works.

The eye chart exam is where I really suck.

The doctor comes in, makes some small talk about the weather then puts up the eye chart on the wall. I’m pretty sure they put this up here just to humiliate me. I can see nothing. The only reason I know the top line is an E is because on the Snellen charts (fucking Snellen) the top line is always: C,D,E,F,L,N,O,P,T,H or Z. So I got a one and 11 shot and the E looks pretty boxy. See I did do some studying, not that it got me anywhere.
Then they put my prescription in that binocular sort of thing. Ah, I breath a little sigh of relief. But now it’s the one and two game, which I don’t think I could suck at worse.

“One or two?” the doctor asks.

It’s make it or break it time. Come on new persciption. Don’t mess this up, Beth!

“Wait do show me them again?” I ask.

“One or two?”

I debate. “Um, two?”

“Okay. One or two?” He asks again with two fresh choices.

“I’m not sure,” I say. The doctor doesn’t like this answer.

“Try again. One or two?”

“They look the same,” I say.

I think I hear him sigh. I hate this game.

“Try these. One or two?” he asks.

My mind spins: Two looks maybe slightly better, but wait one was good. Two... Um...

“Can I see them again?” I want to get this right. The clarity of my whole entire year is dependent on this, literally and figuratively. I’ve had a bad day and I need some frakin’ clarity (Yes I love Battlestar Gallatica, but I regress)!

“One or two?”

“One. I’m sure it’s one,” I say.

“Good,” the doc says taking the contraption away from my face. I did it. That stupid song starts running through my head, "I can see clearly now the day has come... I can see all obstacles in my way..."

He comes close to my face because he knows I can’t see. “I think your prescription is pretty much the same. If it’s not broke don’t fix it!”

Fail number three.

He sends me on my way. Once again stranded in my fuzzy world left to feel my way through the office to find the room in no man’s land that has my contacts. I failed again. I put in my less than perfect contacts. That will just have to do. There’s always next time. Until then I’m studying those Snellen charts without my contacts.

As for the clarity, I guess you just have to go with what you got. Nothing is perfect. You see what you need to. You just gotta look close enough, ignore the halos on the lights at night and break down and just get the bifocals.