Friday, July 02, 2004

Now see here...

Having survived the Harrison Bergeron-like rigors (not that I was superhuman to start with!) of my work-related anxiety dream, I was subjected to yet another freakish dream last night.*

I'm sure I dream wacked-out stuff all the time, but usually I don't wake up to an alarm, so I forget everything. But when I'm jarred out of sleep unexpectedly, everything's still vivid.

This morning I was jolted awake by the small travel alarm that's currently standing in for my deceased Hello Kitty alarm clock. I had a morning appointment with my optometrist. The goal was for me to try on a new set of contact lenses, sit there for a while while they settled onto my eyeballs, and then have the doc measure how well they were working. I turned out to have corrected vision of about 20-15, which the doctor exclaimed was "really a miracle" for someone with my vision.

"I wouldn't touch that prescription with a ten-foot Pole or a six-inch Italian," he remarked. (It took me a couple of minutes to work that one out.)

Just in case anyone can read eye prescriptions, here's why it's a miracle that my vision is correctable:

Sphere -675
Cylinder -300
Axis 15

Sphere -500
Cylinder -375
Axis 165

In English, that means I have mindblowing nearsightedness capped with ridiculous astigmatism. During my previous visit to the eye doctor, he remarked that he was surprised I hadn't asked him about Lasix.

Well, unless my vision becomes uncorrectable in some way, I never will inquire about Lasix. I have a friend who swears by it; it has changed his life immensely for the better. But not everybody has the same luck. We're talking about unnecessary surgery here! And anyway, maybe it's a rationalization, but I like the way I am now: I can see two different ways.

When I'm wearing glasses or contacts, I look up at the night sky and see a multitude of stars--as Marah would say, "like they were spinnin' in a bowl, baby." I look up in the daytime and see the edges of intensely green pine trees marked out crisply against a sky full of puffy clouds. It would sound kind of stoner-ish if I were to say it out loud, but I love to watch the edges of things interact with each other.

Without glasses or contacts, I look up at the night sky and see a diffuse glow, like a wondrous, all-encompassing aurora borealis. Strings of Christmas lights (a favorite decoration of mine) become orbs of glowing color. It's different, and I'm loath to say it's inferior. Sure, it's useless when it comes to actually getting things done, but haven't painters throughout the ages been inspired by the supposed defects in their vision?

Who wouldn't want to have both options?

*I'm walking around a city, holding onto a swing. It's an industrial-strength swing like you see on a public playground--two long lengths of chain with a black rubber seat between them. The swing is attached to an electrified cable system as if it were a trolley car. I don't know why I need to hang onto it, since I'm walking, but I do.

The city starts out as St. Paul, Minnesota (as cities in my dreams often do), but morphs into London. There's a giant glassed-in arboretum I'm dying to see, but I can't seem to get there. Eventually I have to let go of my swing to trace my way through some alleys and archways, and I find myself obsessively memorizing every move I make so I'll be able to find my way back to the swing. I manage to get into a huge coliseum where there are gymnastic events and 4-H competitions, but I never get to the arboretum. Eventually I give up and go back to my swing. I'm tired, so I just sit there and swing on it.