Friday, July 01, 2005

On Being Short-Sighted

I've been short-sighted since around the eighth grade, when my piano teacher, Mrs. Lamont, noticed that I was having to squint a lot to see the notes during my practice sessions. I wish I had the vision now that I had then; I could probably get along pretty well now with my vision from those days. My vision now is pretty bad and getting worse. I can barely see things up close without having to take my glasses off, even with graduated lenses (a fancy version of bifocals). It's a pain, though during Christmas the view of a Christmas tree without my glasses is pretty nice; little lights become huge puff-balls of color, but that's pretty much the highlight of having degenerating sight.

As time has gone along, my prescriptions have gotten stronger and stronger, though luckily technology has kept up to some degree. The newer plastic lenses are lighter and much thinner than comparative glass lenses would have been and the new titanium-alloy "memory" frames are wonderful. The biggest thing I have to worry about now is keeping the lenses clean, since if I just wipe them off with any old thing sitting around, a tissue or shirt, the various non-glare, UV-resistant coatings will scratch off. I have to use a cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth to keep the lenses in good shape from year to year. The optical health policy I have through the State allows an examination every year, new lenses once a year and new frames every two years. I've managed to get a pair of prescription sunglasses and a pair of regular glasses in the deal and trade off on the new lenses every year. The frames I have now will last me a while, I think, and are worth the extra money I have to pay to get them over and above the policy allowance (the standard pair probably look like the ones the military hands out to privates in boot camp).

I'm more worried about the short-sightedness I'm seeing in our county nowadays, however. We seem to be so foolish and thinking only about the hear and now, not what'll happen ten, fifteen or thirty years down the road. Oil prices, race relations, educational costs and foreign policy matters all seem to be headed down paths that, while not bad now, will be terrible in the future. I hate to think what life will be like for my daughters when they are my age if things keep going the way they are.

I suppose the short-sightedness on the national level is a reflection of our personal myopia. I deal with criminals (and people who, for whatever reason, commit crimes; for the record, there IS a difference between someone who is occasionally stupid and someone who commits crimes for a living) and am constantly amazed at the disconnect in a person's brain between their actions and the resultant consequences. Yes, committing crimes USUALLY does result in being arrested or having to appear in court and getting sentenced to pay money, do time in jail or in some other fashion having your liberties curtailed, but this fact doesn't seem to register on the folks I have to deal with.

It gets worse; why do you think there's rampant sexually transmitted diseases out there? Why do you think people don't invest for emergencies or for their retirement and get surprised by having to eat Alpo when bad things happen? Why did a lot of people only invest in Enron? Why do people smoke, drink alcohol to excess and do drugs, illegal or not? Because they aren't seeing much beyond the end of their nose philosophically; they are taking the quick and easy route, the road that they can't see ends up going off the sheer cliff of disaster.

Sometimes, such myoptic behavior patterns stem from desperation, when people take the first rope handed to them from the other side of the cliff, not realizing that the rope leads to the OTHER side of the cliff and equally dire consequences. Those folks I have a little bit better regards for, since they are dancing as fast as they can. It's the people that keep making bad decisions because they won't stop to think before they leap over the cliff that drive me crazy; they should be able to see the rocks and broken glass on the other side, but something else is driving them to do the stupid thing. I wish I knew what it was, since at least it would keep my frustration level down a bit when I have to deal with them.

I know that emotion carries some of the blame for our actions, when we haven't trained ourselves to think before jumping into the abyss. I've cut loose sometimes with family and others when I shouldn't have and been immediately sorry. Sometimes it is only with twenty-twenty hindsight that we see where we screwed up. Too bad they can't make corrective lenses for THAT.

1 comment:

Kacey said...

AARGH! I hate being near-sighted! Have worn corrective lenses for over half my life. Can anyone say "laser surgery?"