Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I Gotta Wear Shades

Last week I lost my sunglasses.  It bummed me out for a couple of reasons.  First, I really liked those sunglasses, and just like every time I grow attached to something, they quit making it. Then for some cosmic reason yet identified, I lose it.  Second, I need sunglasses.  Let me say that again in case you missed it…..I NEED sunglasses.  I don’t know if it’s because I’ve just worn them for all of my life, or I have a sensitivity to sunlight, or what…..but I really struggle without sunglasses at the ready.
Over the years I have purchased many pair, ranging the entire spectrum of the price range.  From a penny at a yard sale, to stupidly high priced brand named units that promised to make both the world, and myself better to look at.  Like many of them, the ways in which I have lost them are as varied as the glasses I have purchased.
 I have looked over the railing of bridges and buildings only to watch my favorite (at the time) sunglasses tumble and plummet to the earth below.  I  have frantically grasped at them as they have been knocked over board, only to see them sink slowly beneath green waves, like Leonardo DeCaprio in the Titanic movie.  The only difference was that my loss was actually tragic. I have put them on the roof of a car and driven off.  They have been stolen.  I don’t know who steals sunglasses, but I will blame the Germans.  A favorite young son of mine liked to blame the Germans for things stolen without reason.  It’s a bit random but I like it so I also have adopted this philosophy. 
I tend to hang them on the front of my shirt.  I often hug or am hugged, and many a pair has met its demise this way, crushed and broken in the embrace of friendship.  Actually, now that I think about it, not one of my loving, hugging friends who broke my damn sunglasses in this fashion has ever offered to replace them……wtf?
This last pair of missing sunglasses really bothered me.  They were only $40.  Not too expensive, and they were certainly no ridiculous brand named facial accessory.  Still, they were comfortable, worked perfectly and were for the most part, not too scratched up.  I think what’s more irritating than losing them is that I had no idea at what point in my life, day, week, they became lost, and that I was now faced with the daunting task of finding yet another “perfect pair.”
Buying sunglasses is almost worse than car shopping, or shopping for a shirt to wear to a party at the last damned minute.  Finding the right pair of sunglasses is just a crap thing to involve yourself in.  The entire time you can only think about the last pair you had, and try to find ones just like them, which as I said earlier is a universal improbability.  You have to try on all the samples that every other person has already had on their faces,… and (I don’t know why this is)  the stupid, idiotic sunglasses makers put stickers on the lenses…..so when you try them on….you can’t see through them to see if you like them.  Also, you can’t take them outside.  You have to try on something you can only use outside, inside a store.  I really don’t get that.  Has no one brought this up in a board meeting at wherever-the-hell they make sunglasses?  Even those outrageous info-mercials , (you know…those Blue Blocker things that use retired people so loaded on medication they would agree to be set on fire just as easily as trying on those ugly brown goggles that cover their entire faces….I think it helps to keep them from being identified when they run over small children in school zones) at least have the common sense to shoot the commercials outside!
So…the other day I went to Dad’s to pick him up.  He got in the car and looked right at me and said, “Where are your sunglasses, Mate?”   I guess he is used to seeing me wear them.   I told him that I had lost them and had not found a new pair.  He looked back at me and (I swear I could hear him ask before the words came out) and said, “Where did you lose them?”   It must have been the look on my face.  I’m not sure, but he decided to drop it for a while.  Then, a little while later he told me that he had an old pair that he had for years in a drawer that I could have if I wanted them.  I asked what they were.  He told me that an aviation outfit had sent them to him to try out (Dad was a professional pilot for most of his career) but he never ever used them or wore them.  He said they were brand new.  I wasn’t too excited, but said I would take a look.
Later that afternoon when I dropped him back home, he insisted on taking me in to show me these sunglasses.  From a drawer, he pulled out this TOTALLY AMAZING PAIR OF NEVER USED, 70’s AVIATOR SUNGLASSES, BRAND NEW, still in the case!!!
Dad came to the rescue.  At first I said no, because they were just lovely and I wasn’t sure he really wanted to part with them, but he insisted and I happily accepted.  I look like a cross between Cyrano De Bergerac, and Arnold Horshack when I where them, but I do not give shit.  I love them.  They are metal, heavy, uncomfortable and stupidly over-sized, but they are perfect.  From the gold rims, to the Tortoise shell bridge and ear thingies, the little nose pads, they are just magical.  They even came with a box and that big old glasses cleaner rag thing you could nearly wash your car with.  The lenses are not cheap.  They are expertly hand crafted and polished to perfection.  You can actually look directly into the sun and see it in detail with them on.  You could even stand on the deck of a battleship and watch them detonate some apocalyptic warhead without fear of cooking your eye sockets.  They are beyond fantastic.  I feel like Burt Lancaster in one of those awesome Airport ’76 movies. 
Later that day, after arriving home, I showed them off to Eileen whom I could tell did not have the heart to tell me that I look like had just traveled back in time a few decades.  II went into my office to get something out of my backpack.  There, in the side pocket, were my old sunglasses.  I have to admit to a moment or two of confusion.  The memory of why and where I had put them came flooding back in one of those familiar “Oh yeah!!” moments, but I was also disappointed.  I was glad to see them, but also felt a bit weird about keeping the super cool aviators.  I called dad to tell him the news, but he immediately said to keep the aviators.  So, now I have two pairs of favorite sunglasses.  I still wear the old pair to work and for bike riding, but will keep the aviators for those special drives in the Triumph, or maybe for a gig onstage. 
It’s amazing how folks can “come through” in ways that just blow your mind.  To Dad, the aviators were just a dusty box hiding in a draw for nearly forty years.  To me, they were an unearthed treasure to behold, and a fix to a problem that needed a good and proper fix.   To many of us, the things we can do for one another can seem like such a small and insignificant bit of help which cost us so little that it can’t be measured.  To others the way in which we “come through” for someone can be life changing, immeasurable and often, just at the right time!