Thursday, October 27, 2011

Swimming and glasses

From Alan Hollinghurst's novel The Folding Star:
Part of the misery of swimming was that you couldn't do it in glasses; the surrender to cold water followed immediately on the surrender to a world of vague distances and confused identities, and as I stood squinting down the lanes in the dim hope of picking out Matt's dark head I had a moment's foretaste of the fears of the old, as you see them smiling anxiously against imagined threats and half-heard ridicule. [...] The showers were functional and fierce, a yellow-tiled room with six fixed nozzles and high up in one wall a narrow strip of meshed window that could be tugged open by a chain. I was amazed to pick up, through the crash of the water and the suck and wheeze of the drain, the putter of a boat's engine and a brief reek of burnt fuel. A canal must lie just outside, perhaps lapping against the very walls of the bath.

The first part of this resonated very strongly with me; I've been very nearsighted as long as I can remember, and (being messy and clumsy and lazy besides) have never been comfortable with the idea of contacts.

(Blogging has been v. light lately; I've been too preoccupied with job-seeking for my own good, but have finally managed to distract myself to some extent with work...)


Elisa said...

I am also crazy near-sighted. Do you know your diopters? I do wear contacts, but I always think about helpless I'd be if I got stranded in the jungle in a plane crash or something.

Zed said...

Oh, -7.5 ... I know exactly what you mean re the jungles and I think this was one of the things that shaped my personality growing up; there is a lot to be said re the effect of childhood myopia on the development of certain forms of physical courage/adventurousness.

Elisa said...

Mine are like -9 and -10 (my right eye is worse). I've literally never met anyone blinder who wasn't just 100% blind.

Have you considered getting Lasik?

Zed said...

Ha, yes, I rarely come across people w/ worse eyesight... I haven't seriously considered Lasik. I imagine that on the whole it is rational because the probability of them fucking up is lower than the probability of one's getting into a horrible accident that leaves one w/o access to glasses. Both are pretty unlikely though; I'm used to glasses and on the whole don't mind.

Elisa said...

I know someone who got it about 10 years ago and they fucked up his eyes so bad he started flying around the globe seeing specialists and having subsequent operations just to try to stop the damage. Kind of turned me off the whole thing.