ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Speccy Four Eyes

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Losing your car keys or locking yourself out of the house can throw your whole world into total turmoil, all for the want of a tiny piece of metal – but when your glasses snap in half, which is what happened to me the other day rendering me completely useless, it reminded me of what primitive things glasses or spectacles as posh people call them actually are. Two bits of magnifying glass which sit astride the bridge of your nose, held in place by the equivalent of a bent coat hanger wrapped around your ears Harry Potter style. You’d think someone would have come up with another more aesthetically pleasing option by now, wouldn’t you? I know there are such things as contact lenses because my friends are often to be found crawling on the floor on their hands and knees looking for theirs, especially after a wild night out, and there is affordable laser surgery constantly on offer now, although apparently that is not an option if you are over fifty, which as my sixtieth birthday looms definitely rules me out. The same applies if you are a lactating woman or HIV positive. My lactating days, I’m not sorry to say, may well be over but my positive days thanks to HIV unfortunately never will be, therefore I will have to continue to wear spectacles and be known as a ‘speccy four eyes’ as well as making (as is often the case) a spectacle of myself.

The day my stupid and not cheap glasses frames it has to be said snapped in two I happened to be on unknown territory in an undesirable area of Manchester and quite keen to find my way out. As I couldn’t see to read let alone understand the complicated bus timetable I got on the first bus that came along which luckily delivered me in an indirect fashion to the train station. The station was packed due to the cancellation of certain trains and everyone was peering up at the console with worried expressions on their faces, even me, although I was only pretending as it was all a blur. People kept approaching me asking about train times but I was forced to uselessly shrug my shoulders, dangling my broken glasses in each hand. When exactly did I become sort of person who looked like I knew where I was going I wondered?

The train to Bolton when it did finally arrive was packed to the hilt and we all had to stand squashed up together in the doorway peering over the mountains of overstuffed carrier bags from Primark. A huge black guy, a boxer he informed us proudly, was determined to engage the sardine like throng in unwanted conversation.  

“In America not safe to ride subways,” he squints from side to side over his broken boxer’s nose, “someone done shoot you man – an if you see some dude you know, don’t catch dere eye as dey more den like done shoot you too.”

“Sounds a bit like Moss side,” chuckles female shopper clutching Primark carrier bag to joggling bosom.

Everyone laughs in acknowledgement of joke thereby uniting squashed throng and the shared humour forms an instant bond. Boxer now has centre stage.

 “You from round dese parts dude?” he addresses washed out looking student with thin greasy imitation Rasta locks. “Ever been to the States man?”

Student shakes pathetic locks and looks petrified. 

Didn’t really want to get off as was enjoying interchange but even without aid of spectacles managed to disembark at right station. Would you believe it, forty five minutes to wait according to passing guard. Bored out of brains; no boxers to talk to, couldn’t read rolled up newspapers had been lugging around all day under arm, so was forced to pace up and down. Maybe they sell plasters at newspaper shop I think then can tape glasses together. No plasters madam but why not try chewing gum suggests assistant. Chomped away sulkily on gum like yeah but no but am I bovvered schoolgirl for a while, but was far too sticky to hold frames together and didn’t fancy having eyebrows involuntarily plucked, have hardly got any left as it is.

Boarded train and managed to locate seat. Opened newspapers even though couldn’t see print. Tried balancing two separate halves of glasses on nose but affect of distorted varifocal lenses didn’t help the constant vertigo I suffer caused by meds. Train windows wide open for a change, normally try to suffocate us. Rickety old train whizzes through long black tunnel. Deafening noise and icy cold wind rushes through carriage. Psychiatrists say dreaming about trains and tunnels has sexual connotation. All psychiatrists kinky if you ask me – well at least the one’s I know who shall remain nameless, at least for the moment. There is something called tunnel vision ponder to self and also tunnel love – or is that radar love?

The icy breeze catches newspaper pages and whips them up into frenzy, loose pages flapping everywhere. Katie Price a.k.a Jordan now stuck to ceiling, best place for her and her ridiculous bosoms if you ask me, sick and tired of reading about her. Tunnel seems to go on forever. Motion rattles glasses off nose, broken frame dangling from either ear, looking like Harry Potter gone mad. Wonder train doesn’t come out at Hogwarts.

Off to Specsavers the next day to get glasses fixed – still under guarantee I presumed as hadn’t had them that long. Specsavers packed, does whole population of Blackburn wear spectacles or is it the fact that they are offering two pairs for the price of one. That is total con as far as I can see – which I couldn’t as it happened. All assistants wearing spectacles must be part of the job description.

Offered broken glasses up to grouchy woman assistant for inspection without saying a word, lense in each hand dangling from fingers.

“How long have you had them?” mean faced assistant enquires her ostentatious thick black framed diamante studded glasses perched on her beaky nose.

“Ooh, let me think, tis less than a year,” I tell her. I really believe this.

Looks at me suspiciously and tap tap taps on computer with her matching diamante encrusted nails – was waiting for her to look up and say computer says no. Instead announces triumphantly – hah – March 2008.

“Really?” I gasp with feigned amazement, “I don’t believe it, how time flies when you’re wearing glasses. How long will take to repair them?”

“Irreparable,” she glowers.

“Irreparable?” I repeat in semi-threatening tone with a meaningful lift of the eyebrow.

“You must have been rough with them,” she challenges me.

“By rough do you mean taking them off and putting them on?” I enquire sarcastically.

“You always have to take your glasses off with two hands,” she throws back.

Is she serious?

“Surely this is more a case of shoddy workmanship?” says I.

Pause whilst we glower at each other across table, nose to nose like predatory Eagles, sizing each other up.

“It would have cost forty pounds to repair but as these frames are now out of date cannot do.”

“Only bought them little over a year ago, how can be out of date?”

“Are,” she insists.

“Why wasn’t I informed when bought frames that would be soon out of date and thus irreparable?”

“Well, we don’t know what’s going to be in fashion in a year’s time do we?”

“Does that mean now have to buy completely new frames at great expense to self?” I demand angrily.

“Maybe can adapt lenses to similar frame but will mean will losing ex percent of reading spectrum,” speccy four eyes informs me.

“Should have gone to specsavers – should have gone somewhere else,” mutter under breath and also quote old expression, ‘Men never make passes at gals who wear glasses,’ especially I would think in ol’ beaky’s case.

Whilst waited for glasses to be adapted did some shopping then went home, but couldn’t do anything useful or even write blog. Good excuse not to do things, like at school. Sorry, cannot do homework, glasses broken. Good excuse for retail therapy though as couldn’t see prices.

Son drove me back to town later that afternoon to collect revamped glasses. At traffic lights man giving me the eye from next car.

“That bloke’s looking at you mum,” son says in surprise, “Think he fancies you.”

“Why so surprised?” I asked him. His old mum might be approaching sixty have to resort to wearing glasses occasionally and be HIV positive (although of course man in car didn’t know that) but can still turn a head every now and then.

Maybe man in next car should have gone to specsavers – or in my experience maybe not!

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