Sunday, August 21, 2011

You Wouldn't Hit A Guy With Glasses, Would You?

Yeah, I've worn glasses for a long time, but I should have been wearing them longer. I don't think I was 20 yet, not quite, but I was one of those stubborn people who kept telling people (as well as myself) "I'm not that old, I don't need glasses yet!"
But I did.
I used all kinds of little tricks to get by. I knew all the local streets so I didn't have to read the signs. I always ordered the same thing at McDonald's, so I didn't have to read the menu board. But my best tricks were at night.
You see, the problem with my eyes is that the pupils are too big. That's a little like having the wrong size lens on a camera, and it throws the focus off. It makes me near-sighted, but it also does one more pretty interesting thing. I have what is called 'night-blindness'.
You'd thing that, what with my enlarged pupils, I'd see quite well in the dark. It just isn't so. When it gets dark my pupils really dilate, and that's like having an even bigger lens on the front of that camera. My focus goes so out of whack I have a much harder time seeing anything at all. Plus, there's an added bonus when I'm driving at night.
Headlights. When a car is coming the other way in the dark, all I can see are their headlights. Everything else in front of my car just disappears into blackness, and all i can see are the approaching headlights.
But I had tricks for night time.
If there was a car ahead of me I could see and follow its tail lights. I just had to hope they were going the same way I was . Well, the same way I meant to, since I was going wherever they were.
If there was no car ahead of me, but there was a car coming the other way, I'd just ... stay to the right of them. I'd estimate my position on the road relative to theirs.
My last trick was to keep an eye on the lines to my left. Keep that line next to me, and I was good. Let it get too far away, or cross it, and I was dangerously out of my lane.  I couldn't just try to bracket the lines ahead of me, like most people do without even thinking about it, because I couldn't even see them.
So, I was driving around secretly unable, for the most part, to see what was going on around me once the sun went down. But that was okay, I had my tricks, and they worked just fine.
Until ...
One evening my friends D- and P- and I were heading to the mall. I was driving. I got to the spot where I had to get in the left lane to take the left turn onto the road that leads to the mall. No worries, I sat there waiting to turn, directional on. The light changed to green, and off I went. I took my left, and there was a car coming the other way. No worries, I just glanced out my side window and found the dotted white line running right beside me, straight and true. I squinted into the oncoming headlights, and saw that I was staying just to the right of them, exactly where I wanted to be.
That was when P- and D- began to freak out. They were yelling at me to "Pull right! Pull right!" I looked at them in confusion, since I was pretty sure there was a breakdown lane over there but couldn't fathom why they needed it. I looked forward again and saw a second set of headlights next to the first and heading right toward me! I yanked the wheel, heading for that breakdown lane I was pretty sure was there, and the cars whipped by on my left, heading in the other direction and moving fast. I looked down to find the line and make sure I was going straight ... and rather than the white line delineating a breakdown lane, I saw the double-yellow.
Then I remembered.
I had taken a left into a street that was four lanes wide, not two. There were two lanes of traffic traveling in each direction. I had taken a left and set myself up going perfectly straight, right in the middle of a lane ... on the wrong side of the street, driving right into oncoming traffic.
After we all checked to see if our pants were dry, my friends wanted to know what the hell my problem was.
Actually, I cleaned up the language a little there.
I fessed up, and explained that I was having a hard time seeing. They said "No kidding," (cleaned up the language quite a bit here) and pointed out, in a very colorful fashion, that I was taking their lives in my stupid, blind hands.
I think there may have been threats involved.
So... yeah, I've worn glasses for a long time. Better that than have to go to the proctologist to get my car keys back.

Talk to you later!

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