Sunday, January 31, 2010


I’m not a fan of Sarah Palin’s political views, but I really like her rimless eye glasses. I admit I do love hearing her talk, with her colorful similes and folksy homilies in that accent that is identical to the one I had when I left Minnesota at 18.

Fifty years after that, last month, my eye doctor gave me a new prescription for my driving glasses—saying I had the beginning of cataracts and I need prisms in the lens and some sort of special film on them to improve my increasingly fearful night-driving vision.

I took the prescription to the optician and said, with some embarrassment, that I wanted glasses like Sarah Palin’s. He didn’t blink. He told me that Sarah had provided a terrific boon for Kawasaki (“Like the motorcycles”), the Japanese company that produces her high-style eyewear.

Sarah has square lenses, I chose ones that were more of a trapezoid. When the optician added the cost of the prisms, lenses and special film to the $250 skeleton of the glasses, the bill came to $465. Ouch!

But I loved my new glasses, which made everything pop into 3-D. At night I could see the road without being dazzled by oncoming cars. I even made a quick sketch of the glasses (above) in my drawing class last Monday when the teacher, Andy Fish, said to draw some small object in detail in our daily sketchbook.

Then, on Thursday night, I went to another class at the Worcester Art Museum and had to park a block away because of the crowd. The temperature hovered around zero and the wind was gusting over 50 MPH.

At 9:30 p.m. I left class, carrying my computer case and lots of other gear, and when I reached my car, I realized I no longer had the new glasses. There ensued an hour of fruitless searching in the snow while I suffered the first stages of frostbite. By now the parking lot was deserted. I couldn’t ignore the nearly full moon overheard —the Wolf Moon-- which is the brightest and biggest of the year. But it did not light my way to find the glasses. I drove home with one eye closed, trying to see the white line on the side of the road.

The next morning I decided to drive back to the Museum before anyone came. I arrived at 8:45 to see, with a sinking heart, that the parking lot had been freshly plowed and sanded.

There the glasses were, ground into the sand and snow; they had been run over. One bow (correctly called a "temple") on the side was entirely missing, and the skeleton was bent out of shape. Unbelievably, the super-strong Polycarbonate plastic lenses themselves were not broken—just badly scratched.

I headed straight for the optician, who shook his head and told me that the lenses could not be saved, the missing temple would cost $75 but the rest of the skeleton could be restored — so the new pair of glasses he ordered for me would cost $280 instead of $460. By then, this seemed to me to be a happy ending to the saga. Sort of.

For the past few days, at the end of the first month of 2010, there has been an epidemic of people losing things. My friend Cookie lost her checkbook and it finally surfaced at Trader Joe’s. (I had to pick it up.) My friend Chris in Florida lost her wallet with a lot of money and all her credit cards. Daughter Marina in Los Angeles, on the same night I lost the glasses, was given her boss’s expensive camera to take to an important event and lost it. Not until the next day, after a sleepless night, did she manage to reach so far into the rented van’s middle console that she could feel where it had slipped.

I spent most of last week trying to find the four high-school yearbooks that Marina had packaged in a box at Christmas, asking me to mail them to her in LA by Media Mail. (Big mistake. You can’t track Media Mail.)

After weeks of stalking the USPS by car, fax, internet search and phone, I got a letter from “Loose in the Mails” at the Los Angeles Network Distribution Center, saying that the box had arrived empty. When things become separated from the parcel they’re in, they’re sent to the Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta.

I spent Thursday and Friday filling in forms, taking photos of similar yearbooks, and writing detailed descriptions in hopes that the AWOL high-school yearbooks will find their way back to my daughter, who is heartbroken at the loss. But I feel optimistic that the yearbooks (which all have the title “Blue Moon” on the cover) will be found, as my Sarah Palin glasses were, although perhaps in an altered state.

I’m blaming the Wolf Moon of Friday and Saturday for this epidemic of lost objects. Full moons really do affect things—if you don’t believe me, just ask a doctor or nurse who works in an emergency room.

The Native Americans called this brightest of the full moons the “Wolf Moon” because, in the bitter cold of January, they could hear the wolves howling forlornly as they crept closer to the warmth of the tribal fires.

Maybe they should have called it the “Lost and Found” moon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What an awful story! Those were great glasses too! I parked across the street and intentionally came all the way around the block to see if you needed help cleaning off your car--as it was BRUTALLY cold-- but I thought you had parked on the street and had left! I'm sorry I didn't check the lot too!