You See Me Better


Than I see me.

It’s really true.

I don’t see myself well.

I don’t see how others see me, either, but when I take the time to ask, I get some real nice surprises.

I went downtown today in the afternoon, I had today off, it’s a holiday yo.  And I did some shopping.

My first stop was Optical Underground at Sutter and Grant.

I have been noticing that I need new glasses.

My prescription hasn’t changed that much in the past few years, but as I explained to a ladybug tonight over tea, we’re sensitive people, and my equilibrium has been a little off and I have noticed myself doing the old lady squint a couple of times recently.

I knew I would have today off so I contacted my ophthalmologist, because I wasn’t going to spend a couple hundred or more on the frames at her place, way out of my range, and I had them e-mail my prescription to me.

I took myself to Optical Underground instead, they have the frames they have in the store, nothing more, mostly overstocks or last season, or if they get a hold of the frames from a store that has closed, they’ll scoop them up.

I got my current pair of frames there.

I was not as overwhelmed as I was the first time I went in a few years back, I hadn’t worn glasses at that point in over a decade, since the laser surgery on my eyes, and I couldn’t figure out what frames to buy.

Plus I was really cash strapped and a friend had announced she would help me out with the new frames.

I was abashed to have to ask for help, but knew I had to accept.

That’s how it is so often in my life.

I don’t want to ask for help, but I have to.

Sometimes, yes I know I’m being dramatic, it really is a matter of life and death.

When I went in with my friend the first time she and I wandered around the store for a while then asked the sales clerk to help us pick frames.

“She just got a job at a hipster bike shop in the Mission, she needs hipster glasses,” my friend told the sales girl.

“I’m not a hipster!” I laughed.

Even though I occasionally drink coffee like one and yes, I do ride a one speed flip-flop hub steel frame bike (but really, no true, self-effacing hipster would ride a navy blue frame with rockstar glitter sparkle top coat and purple and silver rims and a flower embossed saddle.  A hipster would have a raw steel frame with a clear coat over it and silver components with a black Brooks saddle and wheel locks), I’m really not a hipster.

My ex called me a “hippiester” once, an amalgamation of hippie and hipster.

I bristled at that.

I laughed too.

There’s some granola in my roll, I don’t doubt it.

But I’m not a hippie either.

I am just myself.

Fabulous me.

The sales girl at Optical Underground looked at my friend, smiled, and said “I know exactly which ones she should try on,” and retrieved a pair from the glass shelf.

They were it.

I knew in the blink of an eye.

As soon as I tried them on, they were perfect.

I did try on a few other pairs, but it was obvious, the first frames were it, and I acquiesced to my friend paying for them.

Grateful then.

Grateful now.

To have the friends I have.

And I thought about that experience as I wandered around the shop not finding anything I liked or that looked good on my face.

The sales clerk today told me my current frames were in great condition and I could just get the new lenses and they would pop them into my frames, but it would take a week.

I wasn’t keen on the idea.

I don’t actually need my glasses to drive, I was able to pass the DMV eye test without wearing them, but I feel a lot better with them on and I notice that, especially with all the writing and reading I do, that I can get headaches from eye strain.

But after going through and trying on ten pairs and not liking anything I saw, I was beginning to think I may have to.

Then.

Well, duh, ask for help genius.

That’s what the sales girl is there for, to help the customer.

I went up to her, showed her the one pair that I liked, but not as much as I liked the ones that I am wearing, and asked for help.

She looked at my face and dashed off, returning shortly with a tray with six frames on them.

The third pair she had picked were it.

I was shocked.

They were fabulous.

I mean, fuck, I would not have picked the frames either.

Um.

They’re really hipster’y.

Ahahahahaha.

I can’t escape it.

And they’re colored.

I was not expecting to end up buying a pair of frames with any color, but the frames fit my face perfect and the colors, a kind of forest green and redwood brown, were super flattering to my skin tone.

I didn’t think twice, I said these are it and I will take them.

I had to laugh when I saw the price tag, $179, I was not expecting that either, most of the frames in the store are around $50-$75, of course they were–I’m great at picking the most expensive thing around (turns out the frames are this “season” as well, which explains the look, a store had just gone out of business and Optical Underground scored all their current stock).

The entire reason I had gone to Optical Underground was because all the frames at my ophthalmologists were too expensive.

Adding the lenses and tax, my total came to $277.

But, as I picked up the frames again and put them on, it was so obvious they were mine, I didn’t bat an eye.

I whipped out the debit card and paid for them.

And I was so grateful that I could, that I have the money to do so, and when I thought about how my friend had bought my last pair, well the bigger price tag really was negated.

I’ll have a new set of glasses to see with in one week.

Grateful that I get to still ask for help.

Grateful that others see me better than I see myself.

Funny how that works.

Wonderful too.

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