"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Way We Are

On a recent Sunday evening, I was leaning over the dining room table, my eyes straining through reading glasses to see the subtle color differences between dark, dark navy blue and black jigsaw puzzle pieces aligned in orderly rows before me, while on the television a striking Barbra Streisand wowed the Academy Awards audience with The Way We Were, evoking memories in me of a young and gorgeous Robert Redford.


Two days later, The Way We Were morphed into The Way We Are.

With a “chairside” manner that would do honor to the most compassionate, considerate hospice caregiver, my optometrist wove a tapestry that entwined the results of my eye examination with the inevitable and progressive vision problems that come with advancing age.

It took me a few moments to recognize how smoothly she had segued from the exam to gently letting me know that that’s how things were now.  It reminded me of how my husband’s neurologist had told us a sugar-coated truth about his memory problems without actually using the word that brings nightmares.

So, that's how it is now, I thought.  People talking to me like I'm some old person.

There would be no laser surgery to correct problems, she said in so many words.  Actual invasive surgery would be the only way to remove an aggressive cataract in my right eye, and eventually in the left one.  Within the year, she said quietly.  

She turned back to the desk to complete her paperwork, then asked in a puzzled tone, “How old are you?”

“Seventy-one,” I said.

“Oh, my gosh!” she exclaimed and spun around in her chair to face me.  “I was off by a whole decade.  I thought you were sixty-one.   You’re in great shape!”


  1. If she knew all that you've been doing in the past years, she probably would have guessed you to be 51!!

    I love your puzzle! Oh yes I do!! I wish we had a place where we could work on puzzles. I miss doing them.

  2. Sorry to her about your eyes. I had cataract surgery on both eyes 2 yrs. ago and started all over at 20/20. If your other eye isn't so bad why can't they do it? I love the way people do puzzles. You sort by color, lay pieces out neat and looks like you start from the bottom. I, on the other hand, sort out the border, pour the pcs. on the table willy-nilly, turn them upright then work from the top down. Coincidence that we all get the same result? ;D

  3. Disturbing news about your eyes .. I can relate BECAUSE I TOO AM FACING the same situation this summer .. what more can I add ? Keep your spirits up .. Patti did extremely well with her eyes last year ! I am sure you two have talked .. Somberly .. Cap ..

  4. One of your best-written pieces (IMHO). Good to catch up.