Monty and Morgion 077: The 20/20th Circle

06Feb04 (Monthenor): With a little narrative compression, this is exactly how my trip to LensCrafters turned out.

My previous glasses had succumbed to age and weather after 10 years, so I went in for an eye exam and a new pair of glasses Wednesday afternoon. The optomologist confirmed what I already knew: my eyes hadn't changed all that much in ten years. The new prescription is pretty close to the old one. Then I went next door to find an identical pair of frames because I like how the old ones looked.

I have never cared about fashion. It is more important to me that a) my clothes are comfortable and b) my shirts amuse me, or are free from conventions. To suddenly be thrust into a room where everybody else's job is to make me look "good" was a surreal experience.

My big owly glasses weren't fashionable when I got them, which I knew, but I was informed that they had in fact never been fashionable. My frames are reserved for old men who've had the same kind for like fifty years. But I get ahead of myself...

The eye doctor took me next door and introduced me to J. She's my age and kinda cute, and her entire job is to make my glasses stylish. This had never occurred to me before: by the time I get to the show floor, my prescription is already finished. Grinding the lenses is done by computer, requiring minimal training. Thus, the employees at LensCrafters are completely devoted to enforcing the fashion dictates of the day. I was unprepared for the vehemence against my choice of frames.

J brought me to the front racks of the store. Apparently this is where the cool kids get their frames...they all looked pitifully small to me. Tiny tiny little glasses that looked far too fragile for me. When I showed J my old pair of frames and asked if they had anything like that, she made a face like I had produced a bloated, severed hand from my coat. Against her better judgement, she took me to the rear of the store, where slightly larger frames lived. Then began twenty minutes of Monty trying a frame, calling it "too small", and J shaking her head in disgust.

Finally my stubborness convinced her to dive into what I have termed the Fugly Bin. A small cart with plastic trays on either side holds all the frames that are deemed too ugly for display anywhere in the store. Almost immediately we found what I was looking for, but in gold. We both agreed that the old silver color didn't look as good, and Monty had found his new glasses!

Throughout this search there was constant hazing. One by one, every single employee in the store walked by, asked J why she was letting me wear those, gave me a pitying look, and walked away. H was definitely the most persistent...she was a lab tech with nothing better to do and strong opinions about what young men should and should not be wearing on their face. She "gave up" on me several times, but didn't give up until I told her what kind of sunglasses I had (big wraparound granny ones).

After the frames went in to get sized, things quieted down a bit. They all knew that nothing they said could convince me to buy normal frames. There was one last dig, when H told me that the computer might have trouble cutting the lenses for frames so large. In the end, the glasses were complete and I was the only one who seemed happy about it.

I think what boggled their mind was that anybody my age would know they weren't fashionable and truly not care. I have no illusions that my glasses have ever been "good". I like them, and as I told J, "I have to wear them, not you." She rightly interpreted that to mean that no, her expert opinion did not matter to me at all. I felt kinda bad that I rendered all their combined frame experience moot, but damn if I was going to get stuck with wee glasses for a decade.

Thankfully I have a good sense of humor, because I found the whole situation hilarious.

And after all this typing, there's no way I'm copying my review of Beyond Good and Evil. Go read it in the UJ forums, or accept my recommendation of "awesome rental".