I usually have no interest in wearing contact lenses, or other (e.g., surgical) options for improving my sight. I like the way I look wearing glasses, and I’m quite comfortable with them. But there is one situation that makes me wish I could see better without them: I wonder sometimes how different life would be if I could see the status of my haircut before leaving the barber’s chair. At the end of a haircut, when asked if I like the haircut, I usually just say yes, when a true response would be that I have no idea. Luckily, I rarely get my hair cut more than a few times a week (hah!), and I’ve always had good luck with haircuts, so it isn’t a huge problem.
I remember when I first got glasses. I was in fourth or fifth grade; the school nurse administered a vision test and said I was near-sighted. At first, my parents didn’t believe it, since I’d always been such a voracious reader and there’d never been any hint of difficulty, but it turned out the nurse was right, and I got glasses soon thereafter.
I was initially quite embarrassed by the idea of wearing glasses at school. I remember hoping the glasses would appear invisible, so that I could slip them on and no one would notice. When I actually went to the store to get the first pair–the same basic style I’d wear all the way through college–I was quite disappointed to find out that wasn’t true. So the glasses ended up in my backpack for a while, as I continued to squint at the blackboard. One day the teacher asked me to read something on the blackboard, and I couldn’t make out the letters. I remember feeling intensely persecuted by this, and running to the back of the classroom where the backpacks were kept and pulling out the glasses so I could read. I don’t think I was really comfortable wearing them until sixth grade, when I went to a new school full of people who didn’t know what I was supposed to look like.
I do have a very clear memory of the first time I put on my glasses, and the red blur above the door turned into sharp, crisp, clear letters spelling E-X-I-T. That was really cool.