Matters of aging. Not a fun topic, but somehow forcing itself upon me today.
Let’s start off with presbiopia, the usual thing. You know, arms getting too short to hold the newspaper at a comfortable reading distance. Happened to me earlier than it might happen to other folks, as I am a little far sighted to start with. Had to wear glasses from the first year at school and stopped, as soon as I started to be trained as a photographer way back when, as odd as this may sound. Reason being, that correction viewfinders came at extortionate prices. Since my boss was very wrong-sighted, he had to have separate viewfinders for every camera we used. Apart from the extra expenditure not light-heartedly dealt out for the comfort of an insignificant trainee, we also would have had to change everything around all the time while working. With a little more care on focussing, I was able to manage somehow and even got my eyes trained to get sharp images through regular viewfinders relatively soon. Maybe that was good for my eyesight in general. Never was in need of glasses since. Up until maybe four or five years ago. When the big blur caught up on me again. I know, this might sound like a trifle to anyone dealing with serious eyesight problems, but it did take away the joy of reading books for me. And that is big to me to this day (I know, dear friend, Kindle would solve it, but, but, but…). I also hate to be impaired, trying to recognise people from some distance, at the same time needing glasses to decipher, what the computer screen tells me. Enough said – this is not what I was going to elaborate on, today. Not any further than I just have, anyways. As I was going to tell you about my sweetheart.
He came back from a road trip of several hundred kilometers two weeks ago. Telling me, he had a hell of a ride, suffering problems with his eyesight driving back to Berlin that night. Maybe he had his eye burnt, when a gust of wind blew some ash from his cigarette into his eyes. He’d go see a doctor about it. So he did, a week later. Which – for my sweetheart’s standards – indicates a major problem. As he is not prone to see doctors at all. This was alerting to me. Turns out, he actually suffered an instant cataract. To be dealt with immediately. Laser surgery and stuff. Besides, one eye (the one with the acute cataract) has only 40% of visual faculty left right now, the other one 60%. He’d never pass his driver’s license vision test, were he to take it today. This is all very bad news for my sweetheart. Not only in the factual, medical sense. As bad as it sounds, this is likely to be sorted pretty soon, even though it affords him to go through unpleasant treatment. But it gets to him on a much deeper base. Making him feel his age for real, all of a sudden. Maybe for the first time ever. He is 16 years my senior, but seeing us two together, nobody guesses the age difference between us. He looks like fifty and I look like almost fifty.
I didn’t realise until last evening, how deep this runs with him. Coming back exhausted from work, I hugged him standing beside him, while he sat at his computer. Looking from above onto his head, running my fingers through his hair, I said, without thinking: “Your hair seems to be thinning.” I could literally feel him wince at this allusion. Subsequently, I sat for a while, listening to him airing his grievances. Served me just right. How could I slip up this bad? At such a time? Thoughtless me. His dark hair being his pride and joy. And his woman (whom he can’t see clearly, as just was found out – which is why she is the one dreading his upcoming eye surgery more than him) insinuating, this might be fading away, too. Un – be- lievable!