Thinking Plastic, or, Because, by Circes' swine, I’m my own man!

I bought some plastic glasses today - the blocky, excessive kind with angles that you could cut your wrists on. The kind that used to signal a failure to find common ground with society at large, but were then set upon by a new wave of good-natured, low-brow epicureans who use the word “funky” to describe their wardrobes, without looking as much like Bootsy Collins as you would like them to.
(See you at the Farmers’ Market, Boots!)

Since I was 11, I’ve been an exclusively-wire-frame cat, so I thought I should make some kind of grand gesture upon reentering the world of polygonal polymers. I may have overreached. I don’t get to pick up the actual, physical product until Tuesday, though, so I’ve got several days to reflect on just how much blinder I am than I thought I was, and how I’m going to look like one of those Poetry Slam turtleneck nerds circa 1996 until I’m not poor anymore, which won’t be for years.

(I don’t actually own any turtlenecks.)

They were really my second choice frames, my first choice being some sleek black-and-gunmetal low-profiles. It would be easy to say I didn’t buy the first choices because they were almost twice as expensive, but that wasn’t it. I didn’t buy them because I immediately developed a crush on the lady helping me pick frames (“those make you look like a clown,” “those make you look like everybody else” (wtf?)), and I didn’t feel like doing that thing I always do, i.e. completely giving in to the suggestions of a woman I have developed a fleeting and ridiculous crush on. You know the dopesheet: moon face, pug nose (the good kind), scimitar eyebrows, scathing but still good-humored, helpful and honest without being saccharine or mean.

“If I were going to tell you which pair to buy,” she said, “I would tell you to buy this pair,” holding up the expensive ones.

So I told her, I says, “let’s do rock-paper-scissors for it, best two out of three. You be the pair you like, and I’ll be the other pair.” This wasn’t really a competition, per se. There’s only one sphere of life in which I believe in mysticism, and that is rock-paper-scissors against women I like. I have never lost a game of rock paper scissors with a chick I liked. If I’m on the fence about somebody, the easiest way to decide about her is by playing rock-paper-scissors, and if she wins, going our ways, me mine and she hers. So there it was. Two scissors. Then a rock against some scissors. Then a paper against a rock. And it was settled: I liked her. And: I would buy the pair of glasses she didn’t like as much. Because, by Circes’ swine, I’m my own man!

Sure, this wasn’t really the end of the debate. I waffled several times. I even came to regret it, in between making the decision and paying for the decision. Could have retracted it a thousand times. But I sallied forth with my plastic black-and-gray Tommy Hilfigers. “I came in here thinking plastic,” I said, “and I’ve got to stick with it.”

It’s always sad when a transaction like this is completed, because even though it took a long time – in this case nearly an hour – any degree of comradery, or even complicity is wiped away at the end. You were thick as thieves, you were, when you bandied about pairs of glasses, sliding thousands and thousands of dollars worth of alloys and rubbers and plastics on and off of your nose without so much as a second thought. But when both copies of the itemized receipt are printed, and your prescription card is tucked into your wallet between the Blockbuster membership and the card reminding you about a doctor’s appointment that you forgot about four months ago, your relationship, as it was, is over. Such, I believe, is the psychology that informs the hiring of attractive, thick-skinned women and soulless, ingratiating men in sales positions.

So I was thinking on the ride home about how much part of me wishes I had become an office professional. A practitioner of non-scary medicine, like an optometrist or a dentist. An architect. Somebody with an entire office operating around me. Because I would love to be a middle-aged guy with a wife at home cooking, and me, absolutely powerful in my tiny social sphere, staying late at the office to carry on an affair with this lady, or a lady like her. I know I’m speaking in stereotypes, but that’s what we speak in when we speak of fantasies.

The optometrist talked to me about how, in “another time,” as a newly minted doctor in Oregon, where he may or may not have grown weed in his back yard – he knew a lot about the laws, anyway – his neurologist-mentor took him and a group of other young professionals to see Zig Ziegler, the motivational speaker, speak. It, I gather, helped to inform him of his own values, what he himself feels is important in his life and his practice. And I was trying to figure out what, exactly, my values are, and I think they can be pretty well encapsulated by an after-hours, blinds-drawn nine minutes with the girl in the lab coat after knocking off for the day.

I should have been a doctor.

I have a superhigh risk of glaucoma. I need a prism on my left lens, because apparently I'm sort of walleyed and I can't focus on anything without clenching my eye-muscles with all I've got, which explains the reading-fatigue. This should, apparently, reduce the "work" that reading requires substantially. Which is the best news I've heard in a long time.

The worst news? I have a superhigh risk of glaucoma. And I'm not banging a chick in a labcoat. It's a tie.

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