“Some are smears, some are spots,” so goes the lyrics to one of my favorite Talking Heads songs, titled Drugs. I know that as my musician sidekick, Greg, reads this he’s snickering, but I truly do like that song primarily for the melody. It’s too bad that it is seldom played on the radio. I’d much rather hear Drugs over Ke$ha’s frantic warbling.
Today is Good Friday, so I was a no show at the grind, not because I have an iota of religious conviction or affiliation – I don’t. Since I’m also a non-breeder, I’m a proud God-loathing atheist. I have noticed with fellow religiously indifferent friends and family that after they spawn, they feel the need to believe in something out there. I think this has more to do with fear for and love of their children than any sudden death-bed-type conversion that such a thing as a supreme being exists.
I had to have three eye tests and I figured that this day, rife with religious connotation keeping the God-fearers away, might be the perfect day for this pagan to get her testing accomplished. I headed over to the Lenox Hill Hospital eye clinic on the East Side, a.k.a. The Land of the Punt Dog. Pictured below is the waiting room when the woman wearing the denim jogging suit trimmed in hot pink exited to use the bathroom, possibly to vomit when she glimpsed her attire in the mirror.
The first test entailed sticking my chin and forehead onto and against rests and staring at a light spot. With one eye covered, dots of light sporadically flashed. Every time I detected a flash, I hit a clicker. This test seemed to take 329 hours, but it actually took my right eye about five minutes and ten seconds to get through it and the left, my stronger eye, four minutes and six seconds. The technician, an extremely warm and personable Asian woman, told me that she’s had patients that have taken up to 18 minutes per eyeball to complete this test since they’re so lax to click. She lamented that she often thinks she could have tested three patients in the time it takes to slog through the slow pokes. This made me reflect that as a woman, my partners have always appreciated my capacity to come quick sparing them lockjaw. I resisted sharing this factoid with the technician.
Then, I had to have my eyes dilated before proceeding with the next two tests. When I signed up for these tests, I was not informed that I would need to be dilated, so I did not pack my shades. I groused about this to the technician who reflected that the sky is rather overcast so it would be unlikely that my eyeballs will feel sheared when I step back outside. As much as I wanted to grouse more, the voice inside my head that sounds exactly like a dulcet foghorn announced:
Voice Inside My Head That Sounds Exactly Like a Dulcet Foghorn: Hey, dumb ass, you’re getting three extensive eye tests! Why wouldn’t you be dilated?
After the technician inserted the dilation drops, I asked if it would be possible to read during the half hour wait. She gently said that would not be a good idea for my eyes would be fighting dilation, delaying the process. I returned to the waiting room, and parked myself into a chair thinking:
Me: What the hell am I going to do now in this, the longest half hour of my predominantly misspent life?
Promptly, I fell asleep, periodically waking myself with the low hum of snoring. Thirty minutes later, the kind technician roused me out of my slumber.
Me (rousing): I don’t want to go to school. Just five minutes more!
The next two tests were much shorter. What I recall most from the second one was nearly being knocked off the chair with a flash of white light so overpowering I went momentarily blind. Therefore, due to my jumpy eyeball choreography the technician had to retake that test repeatedly. I loathed that test, as did she.
The last test had a sixties era psychedelic quality. I stared at a dot in the midst of a zig zaggy pattern that made me think of people born a little after my parents generation — women in miniskirts and go go boots, guys wearing Nehru jackets with love beads.
People my open-minded parents called, “Jerks.” Again, my eyeballs were subject to yet another painful assault, but the technician was pleased since I managed to suppress any head movement. She said I did well but was probably actually thinking:
Technician: Hallelujah, I’m done with this idiot! I can eat lunch and go home now!
She confided that I seem to have passed all the tests very well, my corneas are in good shape, and if anything looks irregular, it probably isn’t due to something horrible or terrible, but just to the unique shape of the inner workings of my eyes. That was a welcome relief.
I left, entered daylight and felt like my eyeballs were sheared off.