Friday, 1 August 2008

The worst eyes in the Opticians are the ones that chisel upon your soul!

Thanks to crazed greed of our city's parking policy, I'm only allowed two hours to do all the things I need to do this morning. Number one on the list is to head down to the Opticians and finally sort out the business with my new frames; that business with them plunging into the flesh of my temples, so that when I take them off I feel relief, and there for all to see and point and wonder at are the still intact deep-impacted canals.
I'm dreading this, because the place is always packed, and this is my third visit. The first fitting had gone well, I thought, having completely trusted the young lass in the smart coat and name badge.
Possibly I was a little bedazzled by her presence; maybe my paternal side came out, admiring how she was doing a very good job, in a second language and all. Whatever the reason, I discounted 39 years' experience of wearing glasses and knowing that they really shouldn't sit on your nose like that, no no they shouldn't.
So I returned a couple of weeks later and had them fitted again, and a slightly more experienced woman fitted the little plastic nose pads and pointed out that I hadn't been able to see, which I knew, because let's face it, you know when you can't see.
While my frames had been sitting on my nose, a metal line ran through the clear-focused universe below and the blurry one above, and yet I said nothing. They seemed to be better now, and she had been so nice and what was the point in being a smart-lipped arsehole a long distance from wit?
Much better they were, sitting now comfortably atop my shnozz, but within hours I noticed the developing tranches along my temples. You don't have to be all Ginseng and Tai Chi to know that these bits of our glorious bodies are pretty important. Visualise somebody under pressure trying to think fast important thoughts, and more than likely they'll be rubbing their temples round and round with their fingertips.
So cutting off the blood to precisely those bits can't be a good idea, and I really should have gone down and dealt with such a vital thing as this a long long time ago.
But what with life in the shape of burying my father and getting married, finding a job and losing a job, well, it's taken until now to arrive at a place where I can start to look after my own needs a tad.
Hallelujah for that.
For weeks everything has been on the run, making it up as I go along within blurry exhausting exercises at being there for everybody else whilst trying to accept the love and support coming my way, which has been in no short supply.
Unfortunately, for myself and for those loved ones, their nurturing has appeared in front of me a little like traffic passing as you drive at speed the wrong way up a motorway.
Recently, whilst visiting my Mum in London, I took professional advice about my frames, and was told that they didn't fit me.
Genius. Glad I asked.
No, there was more, They could never fit me, because the frames were just too small. No amount of adjusting would make any difference.
So today I'm going to the Opticians to see the Manager. No more fitting fiddly nosey bits and dazzling assistants; no more vanity or paternity: just be able to see.
Stick to the plan Chas. Don't deal with anyone else. And if there's a long queue, explain you're on a time limit.
Wow! The place is completely empty. What a relief! Maybe this is all going to go swimmingly after all.
A little too excited by the absence of any other punters in the place, I approach the lass at the counter, and splutter:
"I've never seen the place look so empty!"
"I said I've never seen the place look so empty!"
"Oh, it really doesn't matter. I was just saying how quiet the place is, but really it doesn't matter."
Hmmm. This was not going well. Clearly my opening remark was not worthy of repeating once, and already I had said it three times, the last of which I had really tried to bail out, what with all that 'it really doesn't matter' stuff, but she'd just thrown it right back at me again with that bleedin' "Sorry?" of hers.
It's not that she doesn't speak English. She is as Irish as I am not, and in this instance it is my accent that is funny to her, rather than the other way around.
Refusing to persist with what I had said, and therefore explain myself to her, might make her think I'm being hostile, excluding her in some way, which I'm not. But oh, oh dear, when I ask to see the Manager, she'll probably think I'm asking to see the Manager because she has failed to understand me, or because she thinks I am mightily pissed off or angry with her for some reason.
Worse, if she really pushes me to say it until she understands it, I will doubtless be faced with that look people give you when these misunderstandings happen; when they finally understand you and stare at you with utter contempt.
No, please Momma. Please don't make me see those eyes.
Hard to try and guess what to do really. I'll try it once more, and then we can move on.
"I was just saying that it was very quiet in here, but really, let's leave it now and move on."
Oh fuck this.
Unable to conceal a wobbling tone of impatience beefed up by a soup├žon of anger at the absurdity of it all.
"NEVER ..... SEEN...... IT .... SO .... QUIET.... IN ..... HERE."
And there were the eyes! Those blasted damnable eyes that I knew I'd get, but fortunately there also was the Supervisor, and from that moment on, everything went so well I would almost have forgotten the whole episode, were it not for those eyes, those eyes, chiselling upon my very soul the words:
'Was that it? Was that all you wanted to say? Was it worth it? Was it really worth it? Was it worth all that bloody bother, just to say those pathetic useless irrelevant words?'

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