One Friday afternoon I left work early and went to get my eyes checked. It was just a routine checkup, or check in, or, just a chance for the ophthamologist to ask if my eyes were “Better like this or better like this?” I hadn’t been to have my eyes checked since, well, let’s just say it was an earlier decade and I didn’t have any problems, but my wife thought it would be a good idea to just let a doctor gaze into the abyss of my orbits and give me a chance to gaze back.
While I was waiting to be examined one of the doctor’s assistants came to me and said, “Um, sir, put your pants back on. We’re only going to look at your eyes and this is the waiting room.” And then another assistant came out and took me to a back room and put some eye drops in my eyes.
I don’t remember anything unusual about the amount of eye drops–although it had been so long and there had been so many advances in technology, such as the invention of the contact lens, in the intervening time that I wouldn’t have known if there was anything unusual. In retrospect though I think the assistant had a bit of a free hand with the eye drops. For hours afterward the whole world sparkled.
My wife drove me home and I kept saying, “Whoa! Look at the streetlights!” They were no longer just streetlights but stars surrounded by amber nebulae that shifted and spun as we moved, or as I blinked. Headlights of oncoming cars were brilliant white stars and the taillights of other cars were red eyes. We went out to dinner with friends and she had to take the decorative candle in the middle of the table away from me because I couldn’t stop looking at it.
It was like I’d taken a little trip to Colorado, but without the dry mouth and paranoia.
So a few years later when I went back for another checkup I was really excited, although a little concerned because it was an early morning appointment and I wondered what it would be like going back to work with pupils the size of golf balls.
I’d also taken the bus to my appointment and I hoped the trip back would be just as visually exciting as my earlier trip. It was a rainy day so all the cars had their lights on.
Except this time the assistant didn’t quite have such a free hand. The eye drops were wearing off before I even got out of the elevator and left the building.
At least this time I did remember to put my pants back on without being told.