Monday, January 10, 2011

The eyes have it

It is 2011 and therefore time to once more resolve to become a better version of myself: kinder, gentler, more spiritual and less materialistic, more punctual and better-rested. I want to take up jewelry-making and give up meat and dairy products. I also fully intend to cease all procrastination with respect to seeing the doctor. For example, I’m waaaaay overdue on multiple vaccination boosters, meaning if, God forbid, my ankle were actually to be bitten by one of Paris’ myriad ankle biters, I’d probably be foaming at the mouth in no time at all.

But I’ll take care of the shots, um, later. Today, I’m going to begin by paying a visit to the ophthalmologist, so that she can tell me just how blind I’ve become from the insane amount of time I’ve spent staring at computer screens since my last visit five years ago. The reading glasses I currently wear know their days are numbered (which would account for their constant trembling), and will undoubtedly have been replaced by bifocals by this time tomorrow. 

Actually, I’m kind of excited. New glasses will give me a new style, which somehow seems appropriate to accompany the new, on-time, anti-meat industry, enlightened yoga master I shall soon become. That me should ALSO have better-looking reading glasses. 

I’ve often complained about the difficulty one faces in Paris when trying to purchase perfectly practical, everyday items; stuff like weather stripping, flower vases and miniature table top tennis kits can be maddeningly difficult to come by. On the other hand, anyone looking for perfectly impractical, postmodern, designer decorative objects priced at 700% of their value is ALL SET.

Yes, but does it come in blue?
Luckily for me, one notable exception to this rule is eyewear, a practical item that the French see no reason to render difficult to find (ease of purchase is another matter, as they all seem to employ a specific, “you must be joking” price structure). For if there is one commerce more omnipresent on Paris streets than pharmacies, it’s glasses shops. One has but to look for the flashing pair of red spectacles, as opposed to the flashing green cross:

Psychedelic green neon = free drugs.
Psychedelic red neon = pricey shades.

There seems to be one glasses boutique every other block in Paris, all of them strangely empty (or not so strangely; that’s a lot of eyewear for a population that doesn’t seem to actually wear all that much of it). Maybe their relative emptiness is a cost issue: the last pair of eyeglasses I purchased from just such a boutique set me back €300, and that was five years ago!

Or, maybe the French have simply begun doing as my dad does: order generic reading glasses by the dozen from Costco. Except they don’t have Costco here; Costco is far too practical (see my above point). Moreover, something tells me the esthetically sensitive nature of the French would find such things as 10-pound bags of frozen chicken breasts or 5-gallon bottles of olive oil somehow vulgar. Part of me agrees with them ... but another part of me says, “Cool! Five gallons of olive oil!”

You can take the girl out of America....

1 comment:

  1. Hey hey hey, america needs its "stuff." you know how much you like to go shopping and since Consumption is the largest piece of the all holy GDP (recall from econ, GDP = consumption + investment + government spending + net exports), we thrive when we shop. Ahem, more like the government thrives off our tax revenues when we shop. Since we are in a trade deficit with China, Japan, Germany...etc, we must CONSUME to continue our existence as americans. Yippie...oh wait, we have no jobs and so cannot buy shit. aaah, i see

    i love olive oil btw. and I think ophthalmologists do actual eyeball care, like if you need surgery or if you have busted blood vessel. Optometrists do the eyeglass and contact lens least thats how it is here in USA