I went for an eye test today. Several reasons: it’s about 2 years since I last had my eyes tested and back then they said I was a borderline case, and it was best to apply a wait and see approach. Recently, I’ve been having trouble reading signs and clocks from a distance. And in the U.K., eye tests are free, and glasses are a lot cheaper than back in N.Z.
The technician who was taking photos of the back of my eyes sad something strange. Perhaps strange isn’t the right word. Rude, maybe. She was looking at my details on the system and said, “Wow, you’re younger than me. I was born in 1982. You look a lot older.”
I didn’t say anything, just lowered my chin onto the next chinrest and proceeded to blink every time the jet of air was fired into my eye. (I struggle to put eyedrops in, so that was like torture).
But I was a little offended. I don’t want to look a lot older than twenty-five. I like to think that even though I find a new grey hair every fortnight, most people won’t be standing that close to notice. That aging is my little secret.
Maybe having an eye test on a Saturday morning after drinking the night before wasn’t the best idea. But I was still surprised the technician thought I was... older.
[Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised. Not after last year, when, on the train from Venice to Vienna, the elderly Czech lady who used to be an acrobat thought my brother (who is three years younger than me) was my son.]
On the other hand, I probably would have been just as put out if she had said, “You look much younger than twenty-five.” I’ve done a lot since I left school, and it only seems right that my appearance reflects this.
Perhaps twenty-five is that difficult age where you don’t want to be older and you don’t want to be younger, you just want things to stay how they are right now?
Or perhaps it was twenty-four, back before the grey hairs and the ever-wrinkling eyes?
Or twenty-three, before I looked like my brother’s old man?
At least my eyesight is still good. No glasses required. Who cares if I have to take a few more steps to see if the street sign says Morrison or Merchiston Street?