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Paean to a Pair of Shades - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Paean to a Pair of Shades [Feb. 22nd, 2012|02:04 pm]
Zoethe
I wore the same sunglasses for 26 years.

Not the same kind of sunglasses. The same sunglasses.

And this was not a pair that lived in the car and were only worn while driving. I wore these glasses camping, kayaking, biking and skiing. They went with me to the neighborhood park, national parks, and amusement parks. They were perched on my nose during an Alaska river trip at the moment when I realized that I was pregnant with my first daughter.

She's getting married next spring.

Are these glasses some expensive pair of Ray-Bans that I've obsessed over? Nope. Are they such a gorgeous pair of glasses that I can't bear the thought of losing them? Uh-uh. They are a pair of Uvex tinted safety glasses that cost me a princely $9.95 at the eye shop in our local grocery store in Fairbanks, Alaska. Ferrett regards them as the ugliest sunglasses he's ever seen--he told me once that he admired my self-confidence in continuing to wear them.

So why do I keep wearing them? Because they do everything I need in a pair of sunglasses: they are large and wrap close to my face. They continue at a right angle to protect the side of my eye. They even have a brow ridge. My eyes are basically sealed away from the dust and pollen that drive me crazy and ruin my day. I love them with all my heart.

But a quarter century of wear takes its toll on a pair of shades. And it's gotten to the point where I put them on and it's like looking through fog. It's hard to give them up, but it's time to hang them up. So after shopping around, trying a few other styles, and thinking about it, I've purchased replacement glasses.

Another pair of Uvex glasses exactly like the ones I've been wearing.

Yeah, they aren't glamorous. But they do the job I want them to do. Today I wore them for the first time, riding my bike for 12 miles. I'm just as comfortable, but without the feeling that I'm squinting through haze.

The old pair? They're still in my bike bag. They got to go along with me on the ride. I will have to find a place of honor for them. They're old friends who've been with me almost half my life. That's a long, long time.

Crossposting from Dreamwidth now. Sigh. If LJ won't let you comment, you can comment here: http://zoethe.dreamwidth.org/792111.html?mode=reply:
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: idic_writer
2012-02-22 11:53 pm (UTC)

Great writing here!

Thanks for sharing. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-23 02:11 am (UTC)

Re: Great writing here!

Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: blessed_oak
2012-02-23 12:13 am (UTC)
I love how you could find the same glasses after so much time. That never happens - even after a year or two most companies seem to change everything. Maybe you should send this post to Uvex; i bet they'd love the story.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-23 02:12 am (UTC)
Good idea! And thanks.
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2012-02-23 12:47 am (UTC)
wow. i'm lucky if i can get a pair to last me an entire year.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-23 02:12 am (UTC)
These are nigh on indestructible.
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[User Picture]From: mariadkins
2012-02-23 03:03 am (UTC)
lemme have them for a couple of days ... LOL
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[User Picture]From: fallconsmate
2012-02-23 01:16 am (UTC)
TheEngineer has a real knack for tossing out my sunglasses. i'm picky, i like the ones that go over my glasses but are not clip-ons...and they're hard to find ones that are the size of my glasses.

brava for you for finding something that fit you and your life and sticking to them!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-23 02:13 am (UTC)
Ugly as they are, they're mine!
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[User Picture]From: mmaster
2012-02-23 06:45 am (UTC)
My parents swear by Fitovers: http://www.fitovers.com/

Not sure if they're available stateside, though. (I'm Australian.)
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[User Picture]From: jeffpalmatier
2012-02-23 01:48 am (UTC)
Jeff Foxworthy has a pretty good bit about how you immediately lose or break expensive sunglasses but you can never lose your 'el cheapos'. He said something like, "You can be on a cruise, looking down over the side with your el cheapos on and the fall into the water. Suddenly out of nowhere, a diver will emerge with your sunglasses in his hand, 'Did anybody lose some sunglasses?'"
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-23 02:14 am (UTC)
That's funny, and pretty darned true.
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-23 02:28 am (UTC)

Re: Not the same, but made me think of this..

The nice thing about glasses from a safety company is that they aren't about fashion, only function.

That's amazing about your mom's pencil! I can't imagine holding onto one for so long.

Edited at 2012-02-23 02:29 am (UTC)
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From: anonymousalex
2012-02-23 03:05 am (UTC)

Re: Not the same, but made me think of this..

In Stephen Sondheim's book, "Finishing The Hat," he mentions that he does his writing with a particular, slightly softer than #2, pencil. He was warned early in his career about the surprising (to outsiders) changeability in office supplies, so he promptly bought a lifetime supply. Smart guy.

-Alex
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From: anonymousalex
2012-02-23 03:03 am (UTC)
I almost want to get a pair, just so I can replace them as necessary with precisely the same thing forever. Why don't companies understand that when something I've used forever breaks or wears out, what I want is the same thing, only new?

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-23 04:02 am (UTC)
I am very happy that I can replace them like this. I did buy two pairs and tucked one away, just in case.
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From: simulated_knave
2012-02-23 05:53 am (UTC)
That's no good at all. Now you'll just lose the extra pair.

There can be only one pair of sunglasses in a person's life at a time. If there are two, something MUST happen to the other one.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-23 04:40 pm (UTC)
That's why the other is put away in the box where it's not really IN my life.

I'm hoping....
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From: simulated_knave
2012-02-24 09:17 am (UTC)
May your battle against the natural perversity of the universe be successful.
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[User Picture]From: midnightsjane
2012-02-23 04:12 am (UTC)
Amazing! wish I could hang on to my sunglasses that long. I have a pair now that fit over my glasses and work a lot better than my prescription sunglasses to block the sun.
In the keeping things forever theme, I have a comb that was given to me by a room-mate who was a hair stylist way back in 1981. It's missing one tooth, but otherwise does the job very well. I was thinking the other day that my comb is older than some of the people I work with. heh.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-23 04:14 am (UTC)
That's very cool.
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[User Picture]From: draxar
2012-02-24 10:40 pm (UTC)
My father had a digital watch he wore as long as I knew him. He got it sometime in the seventies; the University he worked at had had some rich Japanese businessman's son start studying there, so he'd responded by gifting them a watch (at a time when there were very few digital watches in the UK). Frightfully worried about being thought of as bribed to take the son, the university had a charity auction for it, which my father won.

And it lasted, and lasted, and lasted. The batteries were replaced every so often, its strap occasionally needed repairing, but the watch itself just kept on going.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2012-02-25 12:26 am (UTC)
That's awesome.
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[User Picture]From: draxar
2012-02-25 02:50 am (UTC)
I think one of my brothers still has it. Not sure if it's being worn, but it's still somewhere about, I'm pretty sure.
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