Sunday, September 18, 2011


Lately, whenever I forget something, like where I put my car keys (eyeglasses, dog’s leash, car, husband), someone usually will comment that I’m having a “senior moment.” Well, if that’s the case, last week I had an entire “senior day.”

I was on my way to Concord when my car’s low-fuel light popped on and made a “ding-ding” sound. That was due to a previous senior moment when I’d left the house to go buy gas and instead ended up running so many errands, I completely forgot why I’d come into town in the first place, and came home gas-less.

So the moment the low-fuel light popped on, I headed straight for my favorite full-serve gas station. When I pulled in, there were three cars at each pump, so I got into one of the lines and prayed my car wouldn’t sputter and die before I reached the pump. I sat there for a while until the attendant approached and told me I was on the wrong side and would have to back up and go around. I didn’t know what he was talking about until I realized I’d pulled up to the pump with the driver’s side facing it...but my gas cap is on the passenger’s side.

As I’ve mentioned in past columns, backing up a car is not something I do very well...and believe me, everyone at the gas station who was waiting in line can attest to that fact. Five attempts later, after endangering the paint job of every vehicle within a quarter-mile radius, I finally managed to back up and make it to the correct pump. A couple of the people in line actually cheered. I wasn’t certain if it was because I’d successfully made it to the pump or because they were so relieved they’d come out of it with their fenders still intact.

After I finally got gas, I headed to Concord to pick up my new bifocals, which I’d ordered two weeks before. I’d swapped my trifocals for them because I was convinced the trifocals were implements of death. With every step I took while wearing them, I’d risked fracturing some essential body part, mainly because the lenses made the ground look as if it were up somewhere right beneath my nostrils. So the optician thought going from a “tri” down to a “bi” might be easier for me.

I took a seat in the optician’s office and he handed my new bifocals to me. He also handed me a card with various-sized printed paragraphs on it. “Tell me which paragraph is the smallest you can read,” he said.

I studied the card. Every paragraph ran into the next one in a giant blur. “I can’t see any of them,” I said.

“Are you looking through the bottom half of the glasses?” he asked.

I nodded. “I’m looking through the part that’s below the bifocal line.”

“Try again,” he said.

If anything, the card looked even blurrier.

“How about the top part, the distance part?” he asked. “Look at that poster on the wall over there. Can you read anything on it?”

I couldn’t even see the poster, never mind read it. Heck, I barely could see the wall. “I think maybe you got my prescription mixed up with someone else’s,”
I told him.

He shook his head. “I can’t imagine that happening. But I’ll go double check.”

He took my glasses and disappeared out back into the lab area. While I sat there waiting, I picked up the card with the different paragraphs on it. I could read all of them, all the way down to the bottom. Puzzled, I looked at the poster on the far wall. I could read that, too.

My face turned crimson and I groaned out loud as it suddenly dawned on me why I could see better without the glasses. I was wearing my contact lenses.

I didn’t know whether to wait for the optician to return and explain why I hadn’t been able to see anything through the bifocals...or just turn and bolt out the door to save my dignity. I decided to stay, but only because I’d paid for the glasses in advance.

The optician, scratching his head and staring at my glasses in his hand, came back and said, “I can’t understand it. Everything checks out fine with your original prescription.”

I forced a weak smile. “Um, I think part of the problem might be that I’m still wearing my contact lenses.”

All I can say is thank goodness the guy had a good sense of humor. He burst out laughing. Not surprisingly, the glasses worked much better when I tried them on again with naked eyes.

I didn’t get home until nearly 8:30.

“Good to see you!” my husband greeted me. “I’m starving! I’ve been waiting all night for those juicy cheeseburgers you promised me. I hope you bought a lot of ground beef because I might even have three burgers tonight!”

We ended up eating tuna-fish sandwiches.

I forgot to buy the ground beef.

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