“Tom, I’m sick of wearing glasses, I want my eyes lasered. You should get them done too.”
“Listen, the nearest I’ll get to a laser is watching Star Wars.
Anyway, have you seen how much they charge?”
“Ok what about contact lenses then? And I’ve booked us a double appointment tomorrow at the opticians.”
Opticians give me the creeps. Sitting in the dark with all that equipment, I always think of Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange.
Walking into the opticians we were greeted by a pleasant young man in reception. I shook his hand and said,
“Hello. I’ve just been next door to Co-Op Travel asking about my eye test and they told me to come in here.”
“Tom stop it, he won’t get your silly joke.” Said Sarah.
“Very we’ll sir have you an appointment?”
“Yes. Mr and Mrs Hughes.”
“One moment please.” Sarah took her seat while I went to examine some frames.
” What do you think of these darling?
“Put them back, you look like “Michael Gove.”
(For anyone outside the UK Michael Gove is an unpleasant member of our Government.)
Then a chubby little man with a built up shoe limped into reception “Mr Hughes ?
I nodded, gulping nervously. A fat index finger beckoned me inside.
“Come with me dear.”
Dear? I looked at Sarah, who urged me to follow saying,
“Go on in, we haven’t got all day….dear.”
He paused at the door to his torture chamber, looked me up and down and said, “I’ve not….tested you before, have I?”
“I don’t think so.”
“No. I’d have remembered. Come in then.”
Through his enormous lenses his big saucer eyes bored into me. Sat in the hot seat, I watched as he removed his glasses and began cleaning them with his tie. He looked up at me once more. His eyes had disappeared! Then back on went the glasses and…zoom! The huge pupils returned.
“Now relax while I dim the lights…”
If I wasn’t nervous beforehand, I was now.
Letters appeared on the whiteboard opposite. My torturer settled in besides me and, I have to say, a little too close for comfort.
“Now can you read left to right, top to…bottom.”
I’m sure it wasn’t the right way to do an eye test but I just started guessing
“K no, R”
“Now Tom, don’t guess.”
Then he did something really weird. He grabbed a hand held light, put his face right next to mine, as in right next, and shone it in my eyes. All I could hear and feel was his breath on my cheek. When, for a second, our noses touched it was all I could do to stay seated.
Outside in reception I found Sarah, relaxing after her ordeal.
“Well I won’t be going in there again . I nearly chinned him. I thought he was going to throw the lips on me.”
“Tom, he uses an ophthalmoscope to test for high blood pressure, you dope.
“Oh…. Well he could have told me.”
Then it was time for our contact lenses. The nice lady demonstrated the technique for putting them in. We followed suit. After handing over a fortune we both stumbled outside, now with our twenty-twenty vision supposedly restored.
As we groped our way to the car park, I could hear people tutting and oh-dearing as we passed.
One elderly lady stopped me and taking hold of my hand said,
“Whatever tragedy has happened my loves, remember, time is a great healer.”
I looked at Sarah, she looked at me. Our eyes were both red and streaming.
“I can’t see a bloody thing.”
” Neither can I.”
“Look this is ridiculous, let’s go back.”
We retraced our steps down the high street, doing our best to avoid the lamp posts.
“Listen mate, can we change our minds? We just need to buy some normal glasses.”
“That’s no problem sir, but I think you’ll have to try next door, er this is Co-Op Travel?”