Back in September when I was visiting friends in New York, I went to a shop to buy some new glasses. Just the frames. I have these old-style specs that are a bit 1950s-style, like those that Malcolm X wore. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but this is not because I am a black Muslim minister. It’s mainly because I like to kid myself that I’m adorning my myopia with a classic, timeless style, surfing against the relentless tide of modern, rimless monstrosities worn by the likes of Franz Beckenbauer or Sven-Göran Eriksson. They are tough to find. Not many places sell them.
Just before I left Berlin, I had a bit of an eruption of my old iritis problem. This meant using eye drops. This also meant not being able to get an eye test ’cause the results would be a bit skewed and I’d have ended up with lenses like the Hubble telescope. So I had my old prescription with me, and went into several spectacle shops in London. None of whom would make up spare glasses for me with an old prescription. Something about it being “the law.” Pah. Squares. I did have quite a row with one guy in a shop that I think was called Optical Express. I told him that I needed spare glasses ’cause I’d be canoeing down the Amazon (okay, so I exaggerated a bit), and that if I lost my glasses, I hope he’d be happy that he hadn’t supplied me with spare ones ’cause of his dumb rules; that I’d be wandering around the jungle half-blind. He shrugged the shrug of a man who very very literally could not give a fuck.
I get to Mexico City in January, and take my four-year-old prescription into a shop there and they make them up, nay bother. Cheap, too. But they weren’t right. There was something about them that was wrong. I wasn’t there long enough to get them fixed, so muttering a long distance apology under my breath to the Optical Express guy, I accepted that I’d been an arse and really should’ve just got my eyes tested not used the old prescription, and figured that I’d be able to get some made up a few weeks later in São Paulo.
Little did I know that the simple act of cleaning my glasses with the hem of my t-shirt would be the thing that made the frames on my regular specs break. I glued them back together. Good job. I went to Belize, and just after I’d finished cave-swimming, the glasses broke again. Lucky I wasn’t in the cave, of course. More glue applied and they were gonna be fine. And they were for a week or so. Then came the kinkajou attack. This time they were broken. Properly. I had to wear my new spare pair with the freaky lenses. For the last three weeks I’ve been wearing them, and it’s been quite weird. Certain things were tough to see clearly. Up close and in low lighting, things got a bit blurry.
Last week in Brasilia, I went for an eye exam. I was bored bored bored in the waiting room, but had been assured that the doctor spoke English, so I was just grateful for getting the test done. The doctor was the kind of doctor you see in saucy British comedies from the Seventies. She was F.O.X.Y. And when I had my eyes against the big grey machine where she stood on the other side making small changes and asking if that was better or worse; every time she stood right in front of the machine, I had no choice – ’cause of the limited field of vision supplied by the machine – but to look straight at her chest, with that one button saucily-undone to reveal a delicious hint of cleavage.
Yesterday, I got my new lenses put into my New York specs by a nice man dressed in white who looked a bit like Uri Geller. And it’s such a joy to be able to see properly again. One of the things that Dr. Luscious told me was that my eye sight was getting better. And I can’t help but think that the kinkajou, that annoying nocturnal beast; well, perhaps it’s like the spider that bit Peter Parker. Perhaps I am actually Kinkajouman. Perhaps my ocular powers will continue to increase. Perhaps, too, I will gain unprecedented powers to sleep during the day, eat bananas, and bite people’s faces. Watch out, Brazil. Watch out.