I don’t wear them at night

newshadesI bought my first set of prescription sunglasses this year. They cost more than I want to put in print. Initially, I justified my purchase with the bullshit line handed to me by the sales woman. “Even with featherweights, you’re going to have a hard time getting clip-ons over those thick edges.”  To her credit, this is true. I’m so myopic that she had already refused to sell me drilled rimless glasses like my old ones, because thick lenses crack under the drill. And the clip-ons have been sliding around on my face for at least three pairs now.

But I knew she was angling for a sale when she delivered her words so smoothly. She was choosing from a carefully narrowed script, tailored for my occasion. Yet I bought the sunglasses.

Guilty-souled, and knowing the real expense was in my lenses, I chose the cheapest frames, as if this balanced my frivolity. At home, I repeated her lies, and my stomach tightened every time I spoke or typed the words.

I knew what made me so squeamish. If I have to buy something expensive, it’s out of necessity or desperation. And I’ve never had the kind of disposable income that would make my regular glasses affordable, let alone a pair of sunglasses.

And I did not need new sunglasses. The doctor, another smooth dealer, had observed latticing in the back of my eye. It can be a precursor to retinal detachment but typically isn’t. It’s common in extremely nearsighted patients. He suggested I “take good care of my vision” like this was new advice. I chose to interpret it to mean I needed to protect myself from the southern sun’s glare. But it didn’t make me need a pair of four hundred dollar shades. (There. I wrote it.)

Still, I a m trying to shed some emotional detritus along with my excess weight. Part of that involves keeping only those things which I have chosen in my life. I’m tired of carrying around behaviors I acquired by accident, inherited from relatives, or developed as knee-jerk responses to a single situation. And that attitude, the one screeching, “You can’t afford it. It’s impractical. And you don’t need it,” was handed down from my depression era grandmother, to my hippie mother, to myself.

It’s a useful position. I largely keep to it. I’m a practical shopper, and I don’t spend money unnecessarily. But I don’t have to live in a state of martyred self-abnegation. And I wanted those sunglasses. That’s the real reason I bought them instead of bashing the sales woman with her tray of frames and taking my business someplace more honest. I bought the fucking glasses because I wanted them.

Now, every time I get in the car, I pop my case out of the crevice in the ceiling and swap out dark lenses for light, light for dark. It’s a small maneuver representative of a much larger shift. And it feels good. Damned good.


About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


I don’t wear them at night — 43 Comments

    • The trick is I want to keep some of them. I mean, practical and frugal are GOOD things. But the guilt. Oh good Jesus the guilt. I hate internal guilt trips.

  1. Wow, how timely! First of all, you ROCK those glasses, girl. I had my annual eye exam today, and yep, my days of a monocular contact are gone. I’m like you – I’m frugal, and if I do anything that has the merest whiff of self-indulgence, I wait for the piano to fall on my head in punishment.

    Comfortable sight is not a luxury. You enjoy yourself, being able to see AND not squinting. Or burning out your eyes. yay!

    • Yes! I absolutely thought of you when I was writing this. Practical is much easier than ‘expensive as hell’, and when it IS ‘expensive as hell’, it’s so much easier if it is also ‘practical’ so I don’t have lurking voices.

    • And don’t let me get started on my worries about entitled attitudes and first world problems. I can guilt myself to hell and back with those, too…

    • Ugh! Yes it is. And the worst of it is that the glasses are the only thing we can’t get useful insurance for. We can get a ‘discount card’ and if there is anything ‘medically necessary’ (What, my blindness to myopia isn’t ‘medically necessary’? I wouldn’t be able to live without a white cane or seeing eye dog without something as simple as my glasses) some medical insurance for it. But mostly, it’s one of those ‘all on you’ purchases.

    • I had to get regular glasses also. And the sunglasses came with a 40% discount when I paid full price for the regular ones. Farethewell paycheck.

  2. I totally understand this. Like you, I have a hard time buying things for myself. I can buy necessities for my son (and splurge on luxuries for him, too).

    And yet.

    When it comes to giving myself some love?

    It’s harder.

    That said, I have a fabulous pair of sunglasses.

    It’s my vision, right?

    {confession: my husband is my ophthalmologist, so those expensive frames didn’t cost me one red cent. like you? i’m working on it.}
    Hop over and visit renée a. schuls-jacobson’s recent post Incident on a PlaneMy Profile

    • Ophthalmologists rock. True story. My grandmother, who lost her vision to glaucoma that she had developed by the time she was twenty seven years old, was diagnosed at a party by an ophthalmologist friend. In spite of her young age, her description of missing peripheral vision prompted him to do the finger to the side of the face test and say “Sue, come see me tomorrow morning and not a minute later. You’re going to go blind if you don’t.” (Spoiler – not any amount of surgery or drops could prevent that, but it saved her a good fifty years of vision.)

  3. I can totally relate to trying to get rid of emotional baggage, and I loved your lines: “Part of that involves keeping only those things which I have chosen in my life. I’m tired of carrying around behaviors I acquired by accident, inherited from relatives, or developed as knee-jerk responses to a single situation.”

    I’m glad you got your glasses. You deserve them. I wish you much success on your journey of letting go.
    Hop over and visit Karen’s recent post Pain Is Your FriendMy Profile

    • I was going to say this line really struck a chord as well

      “I’m tired of carrying around behaviors I acquired by accident”

      I have those moments as well – contort myself into uncomfortable situations, then realise that no one apart from myself is *making* me do that.

      And anyway, you definitely should look after your eyes!

  4. It took me two hours to catch the song reference in the post title. Two. hours.
    They look great! I’m glad you got something for yourself that you wanted.
    Hop over and visit that cynking feeling’s recent post No turning backMy Profile

    • Ahaha! That’s great! I’m awful at naming things, so on my hard drive, this one is titled “I bought my first pair of prescription sunglas” because that’s where MSWord cut the title off. I named it at the last second and flopped between

      I wear my sunglasses at
      Wear my sunglasses
      Cheap Sunglasses? Not so much.
      Sunglasses at night?
      ZZTopp never made the twenty first century

      before I settled on this

  5. You deserve those glasses, lady! I totally understand where you are coming from, being raised with that depression-era mentality myself. Glad you are making the shift away from letting that dictate everything you spend money on.
    Hop over and visit Mamarific’s recent post We Had The Talk at SushipopMy Profile

    • It’s an internal war. On the one hand, part of me wants to go nuts and Buy All The Things. Another part wants no part of any of it. And so every purchase is like having cartoon figures on either shoulder.

    • I can justify some things more than others. Part of my problem is that I know how fast I go through glasses. When I was younger, the doctors kept telling my parents that my eyes would stop changing so drastically every single year as I grew up. And they have. Sort of. Now, I can usually go a year and a half without replacing my prescription. HA. They don’t tell me silly things like that any longer. But it means that I’m shelling out a significant sum for glasses well before the old ones wear out most of the time, adding to the guilt factor. (As if I’m not allowed to count ‘but they don’t work anymore’ as a ‘good reason’)

  6. I finally got prescription sunglasses last year too. Totally got talked into it by the smooth salesperson and I’m so glad because I wondered what took me so long to get a pair. I think the huge price tag might have something to do with it. But you know what? Worth it!
    Hop over and visit Linda Roy’s recent post 100 Word Song: I Could’ve Been Your GirlMy Profile

    • It is — I’ve really gotten my money’s worth out of these already. I can drive without one hand clamped to my face either as a shade or to hold the shades in place!

  7. Good for you! I totally get the inherited behaviors thing — I carry a lot of those around, too. But it really is good to do something just for you sometimes, something a little indulgent. This was a good choice.
    Hop over and visit Lauren’s recent post Margaritas, Anyone?My Profile

    • The irony? Because I teach online and write for a living, I can justify almost ANY electronic gadget without a second thought. Anything else gets my paranoid justification system going.

  8. And that is why I purchase mine at ZenniOptical.com. It cost me $74 for prescription sunglasses. Otherwise I have these horrid sunglasses that go over the top of my other glasses, I too and plagued with nearsightedness as well as, well, old eyes…now I must get progressive lenses…totally sucks getting old…er, older, yeah, that’s it.

    • Oooooh. I can already see myself playing over there. I need to find out what they’ll do with my “these are stronger than my grandfather’s myopia” lenses and if they’ll sell me those drill frame rimless that I love so much.

  9. I just bought mine about two weeks ago. The move back to sunny CO called for it and I haven’t had any since my early twenties. I figured, in almost fifteen years, I could go for the luxury of sight.