For many, many years I have always had one of those faces in public, like many other people that says “not in a good mood”. You know, the one that puts people off wanting to engage you in any way that you will see on any high street, in any shopping precinct and on any train at any time of the day. I never knew why, despite having read books that talked about the “comfort zone buster” of smiling at strangers, that I was always phobic of people approaching me. I was always also slightly edgy in traffic when approaching signs that I knew I needed to read. Little niggly things that bugged me but I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
Then, one day last week I got a higher prescription on my contact lenses and the mystery unravelled.
I have worn spectacles since I was 8 (those ghastly pieces of NHS shit that Morrissey made famous when he was in The Smiths) and my right eye is pretty spazzy. The left was nearly perfect and carried the other one for most of my life until I was about 38 when it too deteriorated and I had to wear my glasses more and more often.
Problem with spex is that you are conscious of the fact they are balanced on your nose. They change your appearance (just ask Clark Kent) and have to be taken off and scrubbed free of gunge occasionally. Contact lenses are different in that you forget you’re wearing them (once the undeniable misery of actually getting the cunts onto your eyeballs has been mastered). The last 4 days I have been walking around town and seeing people I don’t know and to my immense surprise…they aren’t scary.
Traffic signs are perfectly legible and lo & behold, a couple of times I’ve had people smile at me. That is, complete strangers have smiled at me. Something has happened to my face that means it no longer radiates, “miserable misanthrope” but something more open and trusting.
I think I sub consciously I was afraid that those blurry road signs said “Lance is a lonely little cunt” or “You’re lost you daft twat.”
Maybe in the dark recesses of my brain I thought people approaching me were mutants, hiding their true feelings behind the blurry smudges of my limited vision. They were laughing at me and only stopping once they got within a distance where my short sightedness was negated.
Life is also very boring if you are unable to focus on a great percentage of it. You tend to retreat backwards into a world within your mind. Most worrying though, is that you lose interest and make up your own stories about what is really going on beyond your lack of focus.
Having a decent field of view is something I’m now grateful for. In some ways it’s very similar to this story, but without Django.