Monday, August 19, 2019

Glasses, half empty

As my caricatured avatar attests, even without speaking: I wear glasses. I've done so since eighth grade, in fact. (Editor's note: I'm still technically in eighth grade.) That's why spending a day on the job last week for the first time ever without my spectacles felt bizarrely momentous.

I was several miles into my bike commute, taking in the world through prescription root-beer lenses, when I registered the day's general overcast-ness. Guess I didn't need these sunglasses after all, I thought to myself -- a thought chased quickly by the high-definition mental image of my regular eyeglasses lying on the kitchen counter where I had placed them during the process of packing my work bag that morning. If I swore in this moment, it wasn't aloud.

I cycled through obvious solutions like turning back for home (too late), passing the day as a celebrity whose eye candy for all settings and light levels is sunglasses (too eccentric), and letting the day pass in a literal as well as metaphoric blur. The last option proved the path of least resistance, my nearsightedness navigating most tasks passably while stirring up servings of empathy for students with mediocre vision who sit far from projector screens. I'll take a page from Robert Ludlum and title my experience The Mr. Magoo Solution.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

They said it might rain

The trail's edges cup finger lakes,
gather temporary seas,
parted by sizzling tires into momentary waves
that fan behind me like some wild animals' tails;
my mountain bike drifting as if on crazy rails,
rain and mud spotting my sunglasses,
behind those, my eyes wide like a child's.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Nine people I met

My slice hiatus was caused by disconnecting from the Internet last week. Among the bonuses, I can now write micro slices about people I met while away...
  • The bed-and-breakfast proprietor's sister who joined us for the latter (not the former, which would've been awkward) and graced us with tales from her native South Africa plus frequent doses of her delightful, contagious laughter.
  • The ferry captain with penchants for high-brow food -- smoked Gouda and egg sandwich on rye toast -- and low-brow puns -- "When the fog's gone, it'll be mist."
  • The First Nations caretaker in bright-print Bahama shorts who, in a remote island location, incongruously used his cellular phone to provide a weather update about a coming storm. 
  • The architect from New Jersey, paddling with his two teenage sons who offered us toasted marshmallows and accepted in return the first Fig Newtons of their young lives.
  • The grateful Russian couple, now based in Toronto, seeking our kayaking company across a choppy, breezy channel.
  • The transit operator who testily warned passengers knocking on her vehicle's door while waiting to board that "Bus drivers need breaks too."