Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloweens I Have Known

When I was a kid, my mom sewed my Halloween costumes. They were great; my faves were the clown (age 4) and Indian (age 5). And none involved a mask, which she felt might inhibit my ability to see or breathe. (Similarly, we never carved pumpkins, merely decorated them.)
Apparently, the mass marketing of millions of face masks -- none of whose owners ended up suing the manufacturer for injury -- did nothing to assuage her fear.

When I was in fifth grade or so, at the same time my mom was working at Di'Iorio's variety store in the Park 'N Shop shopping center, I was allowed to incorporate masks into my costumes. But not until after she'd taken scissors to them and enlarged the eye, nostril and mouth openings.

To this day, I choose mask-free costumes. Go figure.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Objects In My Past Are Closer Than They Appear

OK, first of all, apropos of nothing, I rode on a Ferris Wheel this morning. It was all part of the dedication of the renovations at Lands End, which just might be my favorite place in the world, aside from Phillip's Park in Newark, Del. I love carnivals! (I am planning a trip to Disneyland, where I've never been!)

More to the point of this entry, however, are my parents, and how current events are making me miss them more than ever.

First, my dad was a political sponge. He taught me to vote, every time I had a chance. This will be the first presidential election for which he will not be around to vote. And damn, I miss what he would have to say about it. Surely, he would be attracted to the idea that Joe Biden (my take on him here) finally made it on the executive ticket. But would it be enough to sway the vote of my WWII veteran father?

Secondly, though my lovely mom passed away in 1990, I can't help but feel her presence as I contemplate the Phillies entering the first World Series since 1980, whose games I watched with her on TV.

Mom, Dad -- I don't think either of you realized how much love you sowed. I miss you. But you are still with me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

From Here to Eternity (That's What I Can See)

My eyes still feel a bit scratchy after my surgery, but there's no doubt about it: I now have perfect vision. (20/15 as of my morning-after checkup, and I don't believe the chart gets any better than that.)

Here's the weird thing: I feel vaguely guilty about the whole thing! Is it my Catholic upbringing? My lingering Polish pessimism?

I mean, it just feels so weird to have undergone such a -- really -- miraculous transformation in literally less than 15 minutes.

I'm waiting for the other cornea to drop ...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Doctor, My Eyes Have Seen the Years

Tomorrow, if all goes according to plan with my Lasik surgery, I will no longer need glasses or contacts to see whether that's a cat or a shoe on the floor.

Of course, since I'm a pessimistic Pole, I have a hard time believing everything will go smoothly. And I feel vaguely guilty paying so much for elective surgery (it doesn't help that all of a sudden, everyone at work thinks I look adorable in glasses). It also doesn't help that my boss says things like, "So, you're getting your head cut open tomorrow?" and "You know, sometimes the laser malfunctions and goes into your brain."

It wasn't until I decided to undergo corrective surgery that I realized how I have measured the phases of my life with my glasses and contacts.

Once a year in grade school, we would line up at the vision testing machine and, when it was our turn, look into this magical device and call out letters, or discern numbers within a kaleidoscope of colored dots.
I am a geek now, so it's no surprise that I was a geek then. In the way that I couldn't wait to get braces, I waited for the year that I would need glasses.

Fifth grade was it.

My mom took me to order my glasses, and I could barely wait the two weeks it took for them to come in. On the ride home with my new specs, I looked at the signs on Main Street. "Were they there before?" I asked my parents. "Am I supposed to be able to read them?"

With sixth grade came new glasses with light-sensitive lenses that turned dark in the sun (see photo).

Then came the glasses with the curvy arms, and the gold monogram letters in the lower lens corner.

At 16, I was permitted to purchase my first soft contacts. Then there were the colored contacts, which made my eyes sea green.

College, it was John Lennon-style glasses.

After 9-11, TV anchor Ashleigh Banfield inspired the glasses I am wearing as I type this.

But as of tomorrow, fingers crossed, I will need none of the above.

I feel like I'm a participant in Extreme Makeover, but the "reveal" isn't the world seeing a new me: It's me seeing a new world.

I'm ready for my reveal.