In the beginning was the world, and the world was without form, and one thing was part of another thing, and there was no division between them.

I needed new glasses.

I am indebted to a random salesperson in Sunderland who noted that my tendancy towards circular glasses was a bad idea because of the shape of my face, and because of this I buy my glasses at SpecSavers, as the best company I’ve dealt with for glasses, and so I worked for a while (This was while I was employed) and toddled off to town to research into the nature of Spectacle Fashion in the two years since my last adventure with them. Book appointment, wait a week, go for appointment, sit reading book for while, ignore screaming child and try to concentrate.

“Mr Avenell?”
“Hello, yes?”
“Hi, I’ll need to take some details. Have you been to us before?”
The answer is no, but should be yes. I’ve visited Specsavers in Cambridge, Tunbridge Wells, Sunderland… I have – at minimum – three records with Specsavers, which has a standardized computer system across each branch. I had a discussion with my opticion back home while they were putting it in, and know it is exactly the same across the country. It should be easy, then, to pull my record from the Specsavers in Tunbridge Wells, where I first went, or in Sunderland, where my last pair came from, to Cambridge. Nevertheless:

“Avenell, Aye Vee Ee Enn Eee Ell Ell. No, that’s an A, *E* double-ell.”

The assistant takes my glasses to get a measurement, which is quicker than getting the specifications faxed from Sunderland. Apparently. A few funtastic and panic-filled moments later, she returns and my paranoia returns to normal. I’ve worn glasses since I was ten, and I can’t see clearly beyond six inches in front of my face. I don’t really deal too well when people take my glasses away. I can live with it (The lenses fell out of my glasses a couple of years ago while I didn’t have a spare pair on me, because I was on a weekend away. I caught trains home, but it wasn’t pleasant). She returns, and I get my sight back, and the optiction takes me into the dark room where the test is done. I sit for a while whilst we go though the “Can you read the bottom letters” thing and I try not to memorise the letters, because that’s a mistake.

Then the bits I hate most. First is the microscope, where they shine a painfully bright light in your eyes for several minutes whilst you are slowly and painfully blinded. This time it was torture, I’m sure the test has never before gone on for so long that I’m in physical pain from the light and can’t see for a while after. But this isn’t the worst test.

Then there is the field of vision test. Focus on a spot, when you see another blip, press the trigger. A very dull version of Space Invaders.

There is glaucoma in our family, which means that without fail every single test, once every six months since I was fourteen, and from now on once a year, I have to do the eye-pressure glaucoma test.

A better torture the Inquisition couldn’t have gotten away with.

It works like this. You stick your chin in a dent in a machine, and rest your forehead against a foam semicircle above it, and the machine is adjusted so you are looking directly down it. Sometimes there is a picture of a hot-air balloon at the end, so you can focus on something. At some point in the next few seconds, someone is going to shoot air into your eye, and it’s going to trigger the blink reflex. You know this is going to happen. It’s like getting dust in your eye, but as if the mote of dust is about a centimeter across. So, at some point in the near future, someone is going to shoot something into your eye.

Now. Sit there, and don’t blink, because if your eye is closed when the test happens, you do it all over again. And if you blink too soon (ie, as the air hits) you do it all over again.

What with my “Where are my glasses” reflex, and the “When will I shoot back in my chair because someone has just fired a fucking elephant into my eyeball” thing, I don’t really find said test a fun and enlightening experience.

Choosing lenses was relitivly easy, and only took an hour as opposed to the usual two. I picked a FCUK Designer pair, because they look nice and suite me, and a pair to be blue, because I like blue lenses. Easy. So, and them over. Standard questions, do you want special coating (Hardened? Yes. Anti-reflective? Yes), do you want high refraction? (no)

“You don’t want high refraction?”
“Could you sign this disclaimer, saying I offered you high refraction, and you refused?”
Odd, I thought. New thing, obviously.

What she failed to mention was that my new lenses’ edges would be so thick that they would have extreme difficulty putting them in the glasses. A fortnight later (The englightened days of One Hour Glasses are great unless your prescription is odd) I picked up the blue glasses, but couldn’t fold them, because the lenses are too thick for the legs to fold around them.

This is very, very slightly depressing. I’m a mole.

The designer ones are fine, or would be, if my lenses weren’t at the very edges of what the deviation between frames (A couple of millimeters) and meant that they had to replace the frames so the lenses would go in them without falling out.

This is also slightly on the “Argh, I’m a mole” side of things.

So there, a fifth of a grand spent on glasses.

Then I lost my job.


But the glasses are fine.