Not Quite Out of the "Normal" Range. But Almost.

This is what my eye doctor told me at my last exam when fitting me for the horrifyingly painful eye discs of doom. He had no idea how true this statement feels to me somedays. So, anyway, apparently I have "flat eyeballs," as he put it, on the exceptionally flat side of things, no less. Which is why the first pair of contacts (see previous post) were so uncomfortable. So they are ordering me a different brand, better for flat-eyeballed people, so he says. In the meantime I've gone back to my trusty glasses - easy, painless, simple glasses. And if it doesn't snow pretty soon I might forget why I've embarked on this hassle in the first place...


Somebody's Gonna Lose an Eye

And by "somebody," I mean me.

After nearly fifteen years wearing glasses, I've finally decided to try contact lenses. My friends have made fun of me for years. But I am slow to adopt change. I was one of those people that thought the internet was a fad. I didn't bother double-clicking that little internet explorer icon until I had a teacher who decided to be savvy and post study guides on SLU's intranet. I don't think I even had an email address until 2003. I like paper letters, I like to seal them with my little wax-embosser stamp of my initials, I like decorating the envelopes with cute designs and depositing them into the big blue USPS box on the corner. I like to make food from scratch. I balance my checkbook the way my mom and grandma did, complete with color-coded highlighting and red-ink checkmarks for checks that have cleared. I'm a dinosaur, and I like it that way.

Over the years however, I've succumbed to a few trends, like the cell phone, text messaging, picture messaging, online-bill-pay (ok, so I just did that last month, but it's SO COOL - even though it has thrown a glitch into my checkbook register system), facebook, a dyson, and even wireless internet. Though, to be honest, I had NO idea how to get that wireless crap all up and running and had to call in my sweetheart neighbor Frank for assistance. And now, I've jumped on this crazy new contact lens bandwagon. It's a brave new world...

There is only one thing that has driven me to this point: snowboarding. Last winter I spent every day on the mountain in a neverending battle with the fog that constantly accumulated on either my glasses or my ski goggles. The glasses would fog up and I'd remove the goggles, use my little fog-wipe to wipe the glasses, replace the goggles over the glasses, and within minutes I'd be in a fog again. And while I'm used to going through life in a bit of a fog, this was NOT cool given my level of snowboarding prowess (i.e., no prowess at all). I am not a good snowboarder. I don't steer well, I haven't fully mastered the S-turn, I fall a lot, and so on. Combine this with constantly blurred and foggy vision and I'm just screwed.

So, I decided to solve at least one of my snowboarding problems and remove the glasses, and thus, the fog, from the equation. Contacts it is! I said. And I went to the doctor and got fitted for them, went back to pick them up and the nice lady taught me to put them in and I did. I wore them for four hours that first day and endured the pain and mild vertigo like a champ. Second day, I'm supposed to wear them for six hours. So, I put them in before work and head out for my day. I got a new haircut the night before too, and was feeling like a whole new me, a little spring in my step and the pain of a thousand tiny daggers in my eye.

My coworkers noticed my missing glasses and asked, and I explained.

"How do you like them so far?" Brian asked.

"Mmm, not so much," I say.

"They'll get better, don't worry." He says. "You'll get to the point where you love them."

I don't believe him, but smile politely. Because that's how it goes at work.

Rose asks the same questions, and I explain that the left contact doesn't hurt so much, but the right one is KILLING me, and the prescription is all wrong. Everything is incredibly blurry.

"Your doctor will fix that for you, don't worry," she says.

Everyone is so encouraging. And I want to stab them all.

By 1:00 p.m. it had been five hours and I'd had enough. I go to the bathroom to pick the little bastards off my eyeballs so that I might at least enjoy my lunch date with Rose. I pop the right one out, stick it in its little case, squirt in some opti-whatever, and move on to the left. It doesn't want to come. I continue to poke around in my eye to try and pry the little fucker out to no avail. Why does this one hurt so bad? I wonder. The left eye had acclimated pretty well to the contacts actually, it hadn't really been hurting all day, so why is it so excruciating trying to get it out now? I give myself a pep talk and remember my "just pluck it right off your eyeball" training from the nice lady at the doctor's office, and try again. And again. And again. No dice. At this point, my eye is watering all over my face, my nose is running down over my upper lip and into my mouth, I'm sweating and really, REALLY don't want to try again. But I can't walk around with one contact in, and I can't put my glasses on over one contact, and I can't see without either wearing glasses or two contacts and ok, come on, I've gotta be able to get this thing out. I mean, is it suctioned on there forever?

I keep trying.

And poking.

And pulling at my eyeball.

It's not coming.

"Fucking FUCK!" I yell at the bathroom mirror. "Motherfuckingfuckfucker!" The fucks are echoing off the entirely-tiled bathroom walls and floor, taunting me.

I remove my arm brace (battling a little tendon-lining-inflammation, boo), my jacket, and my sweater. I step out of my shoes. My shit is strewn all over the bathroom counter and floor, amidst the zillion wadded-up tissues I've been using to wipe the tears and snot from my beet-red face. I'm jumping around. Because I don't want to keep trying to get this out. But what's the alternative? Going to the doctor, the hospital? I don't have that kind of time. And for some reason jumping around and yelling motherfucker eases the pain. But only slightly.

At this point, another woman comes in the bathroom, surveys the mess I have made with my clothes and kleenex, and asks if I could use some help. I explain that I cannot for the life of me get this damn contact out.

"The other one was so easy," I say through my snot and tears.

"Come here," she says.

I do a backbend onto the bathroom counter to get my face into the light so she can look at my eye. She doesn't see it, but the bathroom is dim. She goes to get Rose, and leaves me to poke around and jump around and motherfuck my way through a few more minutes. When they both return, they pull me out into the hallway where the light is better, leaving my mess behind in the bathroom. Shirley, who sits nearby, comes and joins the party too. So now I am squatting into the position I assume when pooping in the woods (I'm not a giant, but I am taller than these three women, and have to maneuver so they can see into my swollen, scratchy, blood-red eyeball), Lyle, Rose and Shirley are investigating my eyeball, and through my one good eye I notice them all beginning to frown.

"I don't see it," Shirley says.


Rose delivers the final blow. "Its definitely not in there."

"What do you mean, its not in there?" I nearly scream. And Rose - sweet, goodly, devout LDS Rose - is not a woman one yells at. Not unless one wishes to burn in hell for all eternity. Yelling at Rose is akin to stealing a blind man's walking stick, kicking a 3-legged dog, poking a sleeping baby, or any other crime upon the innocent.

"There isn't a contact in your eye, poor thing," she says.

"But I never got it out. I've been poking around in my eye for a half hour and it never came out."

"Well then, it probably never went in, genius," Lyle quips. Because Lyle's a smartass.

They inform me that I need to find the contact, because it will shrivel up and die like a fish out of water. I skip my lunch date with Rose and drive home and find the little piece of shit all curled up like the world's tiniest taco on my bathroom counter. Which explains the fuzzy vision and the reason my left eye was so mysteriously comfortable all day.

That is, until I spent thirty minutes ramming my fingernails into its flesh.


Hey Zealots: Outta my room, outta my womb, outta my tomb.

Ok, so I moved to Salt Lake City knowing absolutely ZERO about mormons, mormon culture, the LDS church, etc. I thought polygamy was still allowed. I had no idea about the underwear. I had no idea about anything, really. After living here a year, I've learned a LOT about the LDS church and LDS people. Mostly, I've found that in my day-to-day life, the Mormons I know are incredibly nice, always ready to help or listen, and easy to laugh.

That said, the recent election and passage of Proposition 8 has soured me considerably on the Church. Not the people, mind you, but the Church. Though it was people who contributed $20 million to support a measure denying equal rights to homosexuals. I suppose I just don't understand why a Church would spend so much time and money and effort lobbying to curtail civil rights for other people. Especially when those other people are homosexuals that the LDS Church doesn't want in its membership anyway. Oh, that's not the official tack, of course. The official stance is something along the lines of the bullshit the Catholic Church espouses too: We aren't against homosexuals. We are against homosexual acts. And thus basically condemning any homosexuals who would like to be a part of the church to a life of celibacy, or guilt. And in the case of the LDS church in particular, a life of lies - if you'd like to enter a temple anyway, or make it to the 3rd level of heaven, or ever get to puppetteer your own planet.

The rhetoric flying around was all about how gay marriage threatens families and children. Now, I'm not really sure how allowing homosexuals the right to marry one another will threaten families or children. Gay people already live together, raise children together, live in communities with other non-gay families and children. Are they threatening the other families and children in their communities? If we allow them to legally marry, will they somehow become MORE of a threat to the families and children in their communities? The way I see it, the only thing threatening children is bigotry born of fear and hatred. Energy is cumulative and contagious, and spreading fear and hate only creates more fear and hate.

And why? This is the part I will never understand. Why do these religious people - who assume the name of Jesus in the name of their Church - Jesus who loved EVERYONE, who hung out with the lepers and freaks and outcasts of society, Jesus the kindest new-age radical who ever walked his hemp-clad sandals across the planet - why do they fear homosexuals?

Homosexuality isn't going away, people. EVER. It's been around since ancient Greece (where it was accepted, oh how we've devolved...), and it will be around until we annhialiate our planet into oblivion. It exists in the rest of the animal kingdom as well. It is a natural part of life for all creatures, just as GOD created them. It is not a choice. Just like skin color isn't a choice. It cannot be shushed away or counselled out.

The only choice we should be talking about is the choice to do what is right, the choice to truly love our neighbor, to treat others as we would like to be treated, to do no harm, to make Jesus proud.