I am near-sighted. I am -1.50 in both eyes. I learned this when I was 15 in my geometry class, wondering why the teacher insisted on writing equations on the board so softly with the chalk so I could not see… until a classmate with mild near-sightedness gently suggested I try on his glasses to see if I might need my own. I put on his glasses, and suddenly, everything in the world became clear, and I saw all the little details I overlooked before. I own contact lenses that are between -1.0 and -1.75. My optometrist told me that I was overstraining my eyes, so he suggested this time around that I get -1.0s. To see 100 percent clearly, though, I’d really need -1.50s, but that is borderline over straining according to what he observed based on my eye exam, plus what I reported to him when I view a computer screen or my mobile phone with my contacts on. Eleven years ago when I first went to Vietnam, my vision was far better. I wore glasses occasionally, but I didn’t strain to see road signs or even wear glasses at all that entire 2.5-week-long trip. This trip, I’ve packed my prescription glasses in addition to my contacts. Maybe it’s because now, I want to see more details. Or, maybe what is actually true is that my vision has declined in the last 11 years.
Regardless, it’s both funny and strange to observe Chris’s maternal grandmother catch things I do not even see or notice. She’s had multiple eye surgeries due to cataracts and glaucoma, so now, she can see only in half of one eye. But boy, does she manage and get along just fine. She noticed that the front door key was still in the door from across the hallway with that half eye, from her peripheral vision. She calls out things across a room, details I don’t even see. And she asks questions about topics you discussed in the room next to her when you were talking to someone else, but she clearly heard every single word you said. Her eyes and ears are sharper than mine. I am not sure if that is a sign of how young she is at heart or how old I am at heart.