If You Wear Contact Lenses, You Definitely Have Experienced This

Flickr / Morgan
Flickr / Morgan

My contacts fell out today. There’s never really a great time for this to happen and there are certainly worse times than what happened today (driving, on a blind date, at the movie you paid $18.75 to see) but there’s something that makes it extra awkward when it happens in a fairly public place. In hindsight (perfect 20-20) I probably should’ve known something like this would happen. For me, how my day goes is dictated by the morning routine of putting in contacts.

Contacts in general can be a real love/hate relationship. I remember the first time I wore them I battled between clawing my eyes out to stop the itching –vs- looking at everything I possibly could because for the first time in a long time I could see. It was like I walked into the eye doctor and they said “Oh! How silly. All we need to do is remove this film you’ve had on since birth. Viola!” The world was new to me. It was unreal.

Then the next morning came. I pulled them out of their hydrating slumber, took a deep breath, and instantly regretted signing up for this.

It. Would. Not. Fucking. Go. In.

I’d wager that many a wall has been punched when a newbie attempts to put in contacts for the first time without supervision. But then they’re in and it’s all worth it. Well, it’s more like: “Okay, I think they’re in? Yup they’re – Wait. Ummm… *BLINK BLINK* Ah ok, they’re in!”

By now I’ve gotten used to wearing them and most days they stay in comfortably. Some days though, like today, they refuse to sit right. It’s like having a mosquito bite directly on your eye. My coworkers walk by and ask “Oh my GOD! Is everything okay?” Yes dammit, everything is fine. I’m not crying! It’s my CONTACTS!

Today however, it didn’t just make my eyes water. It popped out like a spring loaded pop-up book. One minute its fine, hum-ho just shedding a tear or two. The next moment, I selfishly decide to blink and in return, it decides to be all “See ya!” and shoots out. Not comes loose and I blink it out. It shot out of my eye, bounced off my cheek and landed squarely on my shirt. Lovely.

Alright here we go. I put it in my left palm thereby rendering that hand useless and try to get into my bag with my right. All the while looking like a business casual pirate who HR has told cannot wear his eye patch in the office. Finally I get my solution and with no depth perception, make my way to the bathroom.

After completing the one-eyed hallway stroll and giving the “Hey, how’re ya? I’m good. I’m just heading to the restroom. Don’t have to poop or anything. Just my contact” head nod and smile, I make it to the bathroom. A nice, big, empty bathroom with music and plenty of counter space right? Nope. Two sinks, right near the door. One stall. One urinal. Luckily it’s empty…for now.

Step 1: Dilute contact and remove as much shirt lint as possible.

Step 2: Slosh around in palm, retrieve said contact, place gingerly on fingertip.

Step 3: Use hand with contact to pull lower lid down.

Step 4: Wrap other arm around your head as if possessed to lift upper lid.

Step 5: Bathroom door opens, stare awkwardly at coworker who clearly doesn’t wear contacts.

Step 6: In your hurry, poke yourself in the eye.

Step 7: Repeat this entire process, but don’t poke self in eye this time.

The look one gets when putting in or taking out a contact from someone who is not familiar with them can be equal parts hilarious and humiliating. How do you look at them, parts of the eyeball exposed that’re rarely seen outside of horror movies, and assure them this is normal? Answer: you cannot. They won’t understand the struggle. I bet unless you wear contacts you probably blew past this title onto a numbered list of “Top 17 Summer Must Do’s” or something similar.

However if you do wear contacts, you understand how frustrating this is. You’re aware this is just one of the many pains contacts will, not can, will cause you. Yet in that same breath, you know the relief and the joy in picking up a fresh box. Knowing you’re set for the next 30, 60, or 90 days filled with similar torture yet visual clarity.

In a way, we’re even a little ahead of the game. Tomorrow, we’ll collectively wake up (some probably pulling their lids apart to break through the crust left by sleeping in your contacts) and before we face the day…hell, face life… we’ll stare into the mirror and pray for a seamless entry. We’ll rapid blink a few times and already know what kind of day it’s going to be. Get them sitting right in one shot? It’s going to be a good day. Need a few tries and they’re still not right? Godspeed Captain. Either way, at least it won’t just be hindsight that’s 20/20. TC mark

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