Left feeling red-faced by eye-to-eye contact on train

FINALLY, after most of my short-sighted friends had raved about them for years, I had decided to try contact lenses.

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And then my friend Christine assured me: "It'll take a few years off you as well."

"Remember I'm leaving a bit earlier tonight." I reminded my boss.

"I'm off to the opticians for an eye test and to try some contact lenses."

Soon after, with the eye test complete, the optician introduced me to Fiona who was going to take me through the process of how to put in my first ever contact lens.

I have to say I was quite excited at the thought of no more reading glasses.

After what looked like a simple demonstration she instructed: "Right. Now you try."

So I put my glasses back on to help me find the almost invisible lens in the solution and somehow it emerged on the tip of my finger.

"Well done," said Fiona encouragingly, even though I only had the lens on my finger and the hard part was still to come.

Sure enough, as I attempted to put it near my eye, my eyelid started flickering like a faulty fluorescent light and the blinking lens disappeared.

"Sorry, I've lost it," I apologised.

"No you haven't," replied Fiona. "It's stuck to your eyelashes."

Quickly she peeled it off and returned it safely to the solution,

"Let's try again," she said.

And, after what seemed like ages, it found its way back on to the tip of my finger.

This time I dropped it, picked it up, cleaned it in the solution and started again … then I dropped it again, picked it up, cleaned it in the solution and started again.

Without exaggeration, I repeated this procedure at least 15 times.

By this time my eyeballs were bloodshot and tears were streaming down my face.

And finally Fiona said: "I'm afraid we've run out of time. You'll have to make another appointment."

Three days later I was back. Fiona forced a smile when she saw it was me again but bit her tongue and said: "Hi Janice, all set? I just know you will master it today."

She encouraged me like I was a five-year-old trying to tie my first shoelaces.

One hour later I'd managed to get both lenses in and out.

"That's great Janice. But you must be able to put them in and out three times before we can let you take them home … and we've run out of time again."

"Again Janice? How many appointments do you need?" my boss exclaimed as I explained my situation.

"It's not that simple," I replied, although I could see from the look on his face that he thought it never was with me.

"Vanity," I heard him mutter as I left the room.

By the fifth appointment I'd finally managed to get both lenses in and out three times and finally I was set free to try them at home.

I set my alarm for an hour earlier than usual and at 6.15am, having already prepared an area on the kitchen table with my lens, tissues, reading glasses and magnifying mirror, I attempted to go it alone.

Forty minutes later, with both lenses in place, I proudly told myself: "That wasn't bad for a first time."

However, as I was walking to work, things weren't going quite so well.

The pavement was moving in waves like it never did before and my balance was all over the place.

Objects were hazy, then clear, and, by the time I got to the office, I felt as if I had just stepped off a cruise ship.

So up comes appointment number six.

The optician told me: "As you need one lens for reading and the other for distance I think we will take out the distance one and try you with just the reading lens. That should do the trick."

And on leaving the shop, which had now become my regular haunt, I looked around for Fiona to say hello, but she was nowhere to be seen and I neurotically wondered if she was avoiding me.

Next morning on the train I attempted to read a magazine with my one remaining lens, but it was proving difficult trying to focus so I opened and shut each eye in succession and in doing so I noticed an elderly gentleman across from me smiling.

I smiled back and it was only when he winked at me that I realised he assumed I was winking at him.

Feeling rather embarrassed I decided it was best to get off the train one stop early.

My saga with the lenses continued.

They were in.

They were out.

I could see and then I couldn't. Reluctantly I decided that perhaps it was best to wear them at weekends only.

A few weeks later my boss happened to notice that I was wearing my reading glasses and asked: "Well, what happened to your lenses then?"

I looked at him and thought, where do I begin?

Hobbies and general interest

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