Retirement was such an ugly word to me that I managed to find a way to keep myself entertained with a part time job while I experienced partial retirement. I was working Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for one of the big box chain store lumber and building material outlets that have sprung up all over. And, I just loved my job. The pay isn’t great, the benefits are nothing to write home about, but it keeps me active, and out in the community.
The other thing I love is riding around on my old Harley. There are a group of us old farts between the age of 55 and 75 that all get together on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at a cafe on the main drag for morning coffee. Of course I can’t be there on Monday, as I am working, but I always show up Wednesday and Friday, and I go on the group breakfast ride every Thursday. At age 62 I am one of the younger ones, and as I look around at some of the older guys I certainly hope that I will be able to remain as active as they have for the next few years.
Benny, the owner of the cafe has a Harley and rides with us every Thursday. He can usually be found sitting at the tables with us on the other 3 days of the week. The only thing he asks of us is that we don’t congregate until after 8:30, and we are ready to leave by 10:00 am when his morning coffee break rush starts. None of us have a problem with this, as most of the guys have wives at home waiting for them. Mike, Ted and I are all widowers, so often three of us will go for a little ride after coffee.
Marilyn, a retired schoolteacher also rode a Harley. Most Wednesday mornings Marilyn would be sitting at the counter having breakfast when the rest of us began to straggle in. Often she would have a question to ask us about something to do with her Harley, which was a very pretty Heritage Softail painted in a pearl white. I suspected that Marilyn knew just as much about Harley’s as some of the rest of us did, but everyone was always more than willing to try to answer her questions. And frequently Marilyn would often end up sitting with the group, having another coffee with us. She never pushed her way in, and always waited to be invited.
It came as a real surprise to me the day that Ray asked Marilyn if she wanted to ride to breakfast with us the following day. Ray considered himself a ladies man, and I don’t know if he invited Marilyn as an attempt to look macho, or if he actually didn’t have a hidden agenda. His wife Sandy would have cheerfully killed Ray if she discovered that he was seeing another lady behind her back, so I sort of feel that Ray just asked Marilyn to be polite. But no one objected, and Marilyn then began riding with us on Thursdays.
It didn’t take long before Marilyn was joining us for coffee on the other days. This felt strange to me. I didn’t mind Marilyn’s company, and she certainly was easy on the eyes. However it changed the atmosphere of our group a little. We could no longer feel comfortable making bawdy comments about the various ladies who frequented Benny’s restaurant. But, Marilyn was an interesting lady, and she was well versed on a wide variety of topics.
My buddy Tommy was one of the very few people in this whole wide world that knew my hidden secret. And, what Tommy knew only scratched the surface. One day when a good-looking girl who wore a fairly strong pair of minus lensed glasses had walked into the restaurant he had caught me staring at her. And of course when he commented on the fact that it was too bad that she wore such thick glasses, I made the mistake of saying that I liked her glasses. From that day on whenever I was with Tommy, and I saw a girl wearing glasses, he would always make a comment about the glasses being what was attracting me. I didn’t deny it either.
One Friday Marilyn was sitting on one side of me, and Tommy was on the other side. A young lady walked in, and I saw she was wearing a gorgeous pair of rimless glasses with a fairly strong minus prescription. Of course I stared as long as I could. And Tommy noticed her glasses, and made a comment about me being hooked on girls who wear glasses.
I didn’t notice anything right away. But after a few more weeks it became obvious to others that Marilyn appeared to be “hitting” on me. I didn’t know what to do. For one thing Marilyn didn’t wear glasses, and I had promised myself that I would not waste any time on ladies who didn’t wear glasses. For another I wasn’t sure if I wanted another relationship. As I resisted her charms, I realized that Marilyn was getting a little pushy about it. One day as we were leaving after coffee she stopped me.
“I’ll wear my glasses if you take me to dinner Friday evening.” Marilyn said.
‘”Ok, it’s a deal. Do you want to ride the bike, or should I pick you up with my truck?” I replied without really thinking.
“”We can walk from my place to a nice restaurant. So you can ride over if you want.” Marilyn replied.
Friday night I showed up at Marilyn’s house at the appointed time. Marilyn met me at the door, and she was wearing a nice heavy dark framed pair of glasses with lenses that were probably about +3D. They appeared to be a varifocal type of lens, and they looked very good on her. I suppose I must have shown Marilyn that I was slightly disappointed because she made a comment.
“Oh, I bet you are more into minus lenses. Let me go change.” Marilyn said.
Go change? What was this about? I soon found out, when a few minutes later Marilyn came out of her bathroom wearing a similar frame, but with lenses that appeared to be in the –9D range.
“Oh, this is better, I can tell from the look on your face.” Marilyn told me.
“I didn’t know I was so transparent. What is up with the pair of plus lensed glasses changing into a nice pair of high minus ones?”
“Those were just my reading glasses. I wear them over my contacts. These are my real prescription glasses.” Marilyn replied.
“Sorry girl, that won’t fly with me. Those glasses were multifocal. You would have needed contact lenses that were about –2D or -3D stronger than your real prescription.” I replied.
“Oh, you are smarter than I thought about this. I’ll tell you what we will do. Lets go and eat, and when we come back here, if you are still interested I will tell you a bit more about me, and my glasses.” Marilyn said.
Interested? Well of course I was interested. She had just thrown me a big hook, and was going to reel me in. We went off and had a pleasant meal. I certainly enjoyed myself, as Marilyn looked exceptionally good wearing her minus glasses. After we had coffee we returned to her apartment.
“Well, did we enjoy ourselves enough so that you will tell me about your glasses?” I asked.
“Let me go change. I’ll be right back and we can discuss glasses for the rest of the evening.” Marilyn replied.
Marilyn returned wearing a tight pair of blue jeans with a white sweater. I looked at her glasses. “Hey, wait a second. Those glasses are a heck of a lot stronger than the ones you wore to the restaurant!” I exclaimed.
“You are very observant when it comes to glasses. I suspected as much, so that’s why I wouldn’t let you say no to a date with me. How strong do you think the ones I was wearing for our dinner date were?” Marilyn asked.
“I would guess that they were around –9D. Am I close?” I questioned.
“You are so close it is almost scary. They are actually –9.50D. They are my real prescription. The glasses I wore earlier were +3.50D with a +2.50D multifocal add. I wear them over –11D contact lenses.” Marilyn said.
“Ok, now for the burning question. The lenses in the glasses you are now wearing look to be a bit over –20D. They don’t look to be as strong as –25D, and I suspect that if they were that high, even in 1.9 index glass they would have to be slightly biconcave. I would guess that they are over –21D and under –23D. How is that for guessing?” I asked.
“You are really good. They are actually –22.50D in a 1.9 index glass.” Marilyn replied.
“And I bet you are wearing them over +9.50D contact lenses.” I told her.
“You are better than good. How do you know so much about this?” Marilyn asked me.
“Oh, it’s just simple mathematics.” I replied.
“I’m not buying that. These calculations have to be very precise. You have to know that a +9.50D contact lens will create about –13D of myopia when you take the vertex distance into account. Then you add the natural –9.50 to the –13D to come up with –22.50D.” Marilyn responded.
“Well, maybe if you come over to my place tomorrow night I will explain my calculations to you.” I told her.
“You bet I will.” Marilyn replied.
“Can you tell me why you do GOC?” I asked.
“Can you tell me how you know it is called GOC?” Marilyn asked back.
“I asked my question first. I will answer your question tomorrow night.” I said.
“I’ve thought about it many times, and I can’t come up with a satisfactory answer to myself, so I doubt I can satisfy you.” Marilyn answered.
“Just try. Whatever you say will be good enough, and I promise not to judge you.” I told her.
“Well, I have thought about this a lot. The best answer I can come up with is that 40 years ago, when I was 16 years old, and wearing glasses that were –9.00D made from the old regular index plastic I was known as the girl with the thick glasses. Then I got contact lenses. I liked not wearing glasses, but then I realized that I no longer stood out in a crowd. My thick glasses had been something to notice me by. However, I felt too self-conscious to go back to wearing glasses. So, for the rest of my life I have been the little girl with thick glasses hiding behind contact lenses. Some days I just feel like standing out in a crowd, so I put the +9.50D contact lenses in under the –22.50D glasses, and I am again the girl with the thick glasses. And, once again I stand out in a crowd.” Marilyn replied.
“Fair enough. Why the plus glasses though?” I asked.
“They were just out of curiosity. I don’t really feel comfortable wearing them, and they are not thick enough to be memorable.” Marilyn told me.
We ended the evening on that note. Marilyn promised to come to my place the following evening, and I was going to cook spaghetti for us. I am a pretty good cook, and I had everything well under way when the doorbell rang. I went to answer the door. Marilyn was standing there wearing her strong glasses. She took a look at my face, and the glasses I was wearing as she walked in the door.
“So that is how you know about GOC. You do it also. How strong are those glasses?” Marilyn asked.
“-43D right and –40D left. They are just an old pair of blended glass myodiscs that I have had for about 12 years. I used to wear them over +20D contact lenses, but now I have to use +25D ones.” I replied.
“Wow, that’s strong. Do you have any problems with distortion with that strong a prescription?” Marilyn questioned.
“They do take a bit of getting used to when I first put them on. And I like to wear them right up to the time I go to bed so that I don’t have to adjust back that evening.” I said.
“Is your vision all right with them? I mean can you drive?” Marilyn asked.
“I have driven wearing them. I actually drove in Los Angeles traffic on a Saturday wearing them. But, I usually stick to a lower prescription for driving. I feel safer, and I don’t want to take any chances.” I told her.
“I can understand that.” Marilyn said.
We had our meal, and we were sitting in the living room with our coffee.
“Do you have a computer?” Marilyn asked.
“Don’t know what I’d do without one.” I replied. “Why?”
“I’d like to show you a few things, but maybe you already know about them.” Marilyn answered.
“Like what?” I asked.
“Oh, like a web site that is called Eyescene. Then there is another one from a guy named Bobby that has a bunch of glasses stories on it by a guy that I really like his writing.” Marilyn said.
“You mean Specs4ever?” I asked.
“Yeh, him. Do you read his stories too?” Marilyn asked.
“Come on, I’ll take you to my computer. Maybe you can even read some stories that Specs4ever hasn’t posted yet.” I said.
We went to my computer room, and I accessed my files. I clicked on one of the stories I was about to send off to Bobby for the next update.
“Let me know what you think of this one.” I said.
Marilyn read the story. When she was finished she said, “ That story is a good one. How come you have it?”
She no sooner said the words when her face lit up with astonishment.
“Guilty, as charged.” I replied.
So, since we each knew one another’s secrets Marilyn and I became more than a couple. No, we didn’t marry, we just moved in together. We liked this arrangement because we could both wear GOC as often as we wanted to.
After a lot of discussion we settled on a new prescription of –30D for Marilyn to wear. I wore my favorite glasses as often as I could. They have a prescription of –24.25D left and –23.00D right, and are a very high index glass in a small wire frame. I think they look great.
I gave up my part time job, and Marilyn and I have visited almost every optical store in every mall within easy driving distance of our home. We know when it is time to change cities when we start to see the same opticians again, but at different stores. We get such a kick out of wandering through malls and having people stare at the older couple with the very strong glasses. And it is so much fun visiting optical stores together. We never buy anything, but we ask tons of questions about new options in lenses for us high myopes. And another favorite is asking about new sunglasses for one of us. We are having a ball with our retirement, and we are definitely not leading a boring life
And, once in a while we are back in town on a coffee day, or a breakfast ride day. Of course then we leave our imaginary world of very high myopia behind, and revert back to the people that others know us as.