At the Optician

by Doreen F.

I had always hated wearing glasses and still did when I started working at an optician. I fell into this kind of work. My uncle owned an optical store and I needed a job while studying at university. He offered it to me so I spent my Saturdays and whenever they needed a hand at his shop in the city centre. Nevertheless I stuck to wearing contact lenses. I did own a pair of glasses which I only wore at home and only when I absolutely had to. Despite the compliments of my family I hated seeing myself in glasses or even admitting I was a glasses wearer. So far I had never had problems with my contact lenses and I was confident it would always be like that.

This year I agreed to spend the whole summer holidays working at the shop because I had recently bought myself a new car and needed the money to pay back what I had borrowed from my parents. During the holidays there was not that much work to do, but most employees were on vacation so the customers were keeping me busy, especially in the lunch break when I was alone. You would not believe it, but most people would come in when I was alone during the lunch break or minutes before closing in the evening.

One day I noticed that my contact lenses were bothering me more than usual. So I asked my uncle, who was the specialist, to take a look at my eyes. He would have noticed anyway so I decided to ask him right away.

After carefully examining my eyes he said, "Well, Danny, you seem to have a slight infection. Itís nothing serious, but I recommend you to stop wearing your contacts for a couple of days until your eyes are better again."

"You know I canít."

"I know you donít want to, but it would be better. You can try to ignore it. I know you are really vain about wearing glasses, but make at least sure you have them with you in case you really have to take out the lenses at work. You know that you wonít be able to work without correction."

"Okay, but I think youíre exaggerating." I know I was being irrational, but I could not wear glasses in the public. The day passed and I did not have any more trouble with my contacts, but back home I had to take them out immediately. I was glad that the next day was Sunday and I would not have to work. So I only wore my contacts some time of the day and walked around bare-eyed quite a lot until I developed a severe headache. Then I put on my glasses, when I was in the house.

On Monday morning I put in my contacts and it felt okay. They were not really comfortable, but I knew I would be able to manage. Remembering my uncleís advice to take my glasses with me I put them into my pocket and left for work.

You may think it is kind of stupid to work at an optician and being really vain about wearing glasses while helping everyone to choose glasses. It was kind of strange at the beginning, but I got used to it and most people were really pleased with my work. All the other employees had glasses, it was one of the unwritten rules of this shop that everyone should wear or at least need glasses. I was the only one in contacts, but the others had accepted that, although they kept teasing me about my being so vain. We got along very well, though.

Throughout the day my eyes kept bothering me, but never to such an extent that I considered taking out the lenses and wearing glasses. "Your eyes look quite red, Danny, you should give them a break", my uncle commented from time to time, but I ignored it. I know it was a stupid thing to do as he was the expert, but so far I had never had any serious problem with my contacts.

About an hour before we usually closed the shop I was left alone for some time. One of my colleagues had an appointment and left earlier and my uncle was performing an eye exam in a separate room. There were not any customers in the shop at the moment. I did not know why, but suddenly my contacts started really bothering me. I kept blinking and rubbed my eyes gently, did whatever usually helped me to ease the pain I was in. I heard the tingling of the bells and a customer came in. It was a regular who always bought his contact paraphernalia here. I was behind the counter while he told me what he needed. I took the small bottles out of the shelf and bagged them. While paying he said, "I would take out my contacts if I were you and Iím not a fan of wearing glasses. But if my eyes looked like that I would not think twice, lad. You donít want to damage your eyes, do you?"

"Youíre right, sir, Iíll take them out as soon as I have time."

The customer left and I took a look at myself in the mirror. My eyes were really red and whatever I did it did not improve the discomfort I was in. But I was still reluctant to take out my lenses and even more reluctant to put on my glasses. I stood there for a while rubbing my eyes and blinking until my uncle came and told me, "Danny, for Christís sake, take out your contact lenses now. Thereís not point arguing. Thereís nobody else here today and you wonít last another hour with your eyes bothering you like this. Youíll scare the customers away. Iíll stay in the shop until you return. And put on your glasses, boy."

I could not deny that he was right, so I went to the back room and took out my contact lenses. I even had to fight the urge not to throw them away because they were causing me so much pain. I was really close to tears not only because of the fact that my eyes hurt, but because I hated wearing glasses and I knew I would have to wear them for some time now.

When I got back to the shop my uncle was attending to a customer. He nodded approvingly when he saw me. I had to avoid the mirrors so as not to see myself in glasses. I had always felt that they ruined my good looks. I kept pushing my glasses up self-consciously and I really hated that I had to wear them. My uncleís customer had left and another one had come for an eyes exam so I was once again left alone. I was rearranging some frames when I heard another customer entering. I turned and wished that I could disappear. There was a really beautiful girl of about my age smiling at me. I forced a smile and asked, "Can I help you?"

"Well, I hope you can. I want to purchase some contact lens paraphernalia", she said.

"Let me have a look." I said still regretting that I was wearing my glasses. I placed the bottles on the desk.

"And I also want to pick up my sisterís glasses. I was told they should be here by now. The nameís Joey Simmons."

"Right, here they are. Since theyíre for your sister she should come by to let me check, if they fit properly."

"Yes, she should, but sheíd rather die than do that. Sheís even to scared to pick them up herself and I also had to buy her contact lens stuff."

"Itís not that easy for some."

"Yeah, I mean I donít need my glasses all the time and I donít mind wearing them, but sheís really vain about them. Sheís grown up, she should know better by now."

"Iíve got an idea. Why donít you tell her to pick up the glasses herself? Tell her theyíre not here yet and she should ask for Danny, thatís me. Iíll do my best to help her."

"Thatís really nice of you. I hope your plan works out. Cute glasses by the way. But why are you so helpful?"

"Well, letís say I know what it is like if you donít want to wear glasses."

"Okay, Iíll tell her to come tomorrow because her glasses should be here by then."

"Great, bye."

I did not really have a plan, but I was sure I could convince her sister.

Back home I realised that I had been wearing my glasses for some time and it had not been that bad after all. I would give my eyes a break of another day. Then my uncle should take another look at them. Not that I was miraculously cured. I still did not really like the way I looked in glasses, but my new frames were better than my old ones and I could not walk around bare-eyed anymore. The astigmatism I had gave me headaches and the blur was annoying.

The next day I went to work in glasses. Some colleagues raised their eyebrows and tried to tease me, but I did not really care. I was waiting for Joey Simmons, I hoped she would come. I had taken a look at her glasses. Her prescription was quite similar to mine. I was wondering whether I had seen her before.

In the late afternoon I was about to give up my hopes that she would come, when I heard the open. I turned and looked at a really cute woman who looked very much like her sister.

"Hi, I guess youíre Danny, since youíre the only one who fits my sisterís description. She was right, youíre quite cute."

"You must be Joey. Iíve got your glasses here today."

"Great, I canít wait", she said without any enthusiasm.

"That was pure sarcasm, wow. Believe me I would not be the least bit thrilled either, if I were you, but today I do envy you."

"Whyís that?"

"Well, Iíve got this mean eye infection and Iíd really love to be wearing my contacts today instead of these", I said touching my glasses. "But youíre only collecting them. You donít have to wear them all day."

"Oh, Iím sorry. I donít know what I would do if I were you. But you look good in glasses and I look like a geek."

"No, thatís impossible and I donít like the way I look in glasses either. Could you just put on your glasses for a minute so I can check if they fit?"

"I only do this for you. I wonít wear them much anyway."

"Neither do I, but sometimes you have to."

She put on the glasses and I had to admit that she looked really cute wearing them. The glasses fit perfectly and she took them off immediately after I told her that.

"They certainly donít make you look like a geek."

"Youíd have to tell me that all day if you want me to believe it."

"Youíd have to wear them all day for that."

"Youíve got me. But in fact I would, if you spent the day with me wearing your gorgeous glasses."

"Letís do that then?"

"Okay, whenís your day off?"

"Thursday."

"Letís meet on Thursday, then. Iíll be wearing my glasses and youíll be wearing yours and weíll have a glasses day together, okay?"

"Sounds great, Iím looking forward to it."

"Me too."

Joey left and I was floating. Wow, I had a date and I had met a girl who felt the same about wearing glasses, but both of us liked the look of the other one in glasses. Weird, but I really want to give it a try!

BACK