For the first time in 55 years…

It’s Tuesday night, and I’m recovering from my eye surgery.  Things are getting sharper and clearer.  I want to set up an appointment to see the Albany Patroons’ training camp, so that I can talk to the new players as part of my preparation for co-broadcasting the Patroons’ home games online.

The director of the Armory lets me know that there’s a special closed-to-the-public “Green and Gold” scrimmage that will whittle down the roster, and that I should attend.  Since I’m still not able to drive post-surgically, I hail a ride-share and spend a few hours at the Armory.  I talk with head coach Derrick Rowland (nice to see him again), I also chat up with Steven Cunningham and Lloyd Johnson, two of the Patroons’ players from last season.

During the scrimmage, I take my seat at my new team position – at a table at center court.  Wow.  Best seats in the house.  Last time I wanted seats like this was in 2005, when Jim Coyne was selling courtside for $1,000 per season ticket.  Don’t ask me how I scrounged up $2,000 for the year, but I did.

Wednesday morning.  My first day with a “driving” ability restored, as the 48-hour period from surgery has been lifted.  I’m treating myself to breakfast.

There’s a place between Watervliet and Latham called the Hill Top Cafe and Pizzeria, they make awesome breakfasts.  I drive there.  Before I get my breakfast, however, I stop in a neighboring store at that shopping plaza, an outlet called the Tool Box.

This is cool.  The Tool Box accepts donations of used tools and nails and screws, and they also sell used tools and nails and screws for dirt cheap.  And all the money raised goes to senior citizens groups in Colonie.  Wow.  Trust me, I had my eyes on a utilitarian power hand sander that would be PERFECT for a future crate art project in the spring.  And I can drop off some of my unused tools to this place, and it’s a charitable donation that helps senior citizens.  How great is that?

Okay, breakfast.  The Hill Top Cafe had a special of pancakes with a fried apple topping.  I ordered that – some wheat toast – and an orange juice.  And the first one who yells at me about eating such a breakfast when I’m a Type II diabetic, I’m saying – this is my cheat day, and I did at least get the sugar-free diabetic syrup.

The restaurant had a couple of televisions on the wall, and I watched an episode of Let’s Make a Deal while eating my breakfast.  Rather than have the volume on, the TV’s were silent, but the closed captioning was active.  I watched long enough to see some costumed contestants give up $500 to win a junk trip to the Swiss Cheese Alps.  Ha ha, you gouda be kidding me.

One more trip – over to the Latham Walmart.  Some casual supplies and purchases, nothing too out of the ordinary – and then home.  Just a quick test of my driving abilities post-surgery.  I didn’t crash into anything, there are no scrapes or curb rash on Dracourage’s wheels, and all in all it was a good outing.

And … for the first time in 55 years on this planet … I ventured out to the world without any prescription glasses on my face.

This is a major accomplishment for me.

In the past, the only time I have appeared in public WITHOUT eyeglasses was either when my glasses were broken by school bullies, or my glasses fell apart because they were bought at cheap discount optician places.  And with that, there’s the feeling that the glasses – like my camera lenses – are an emotional shield, a barrier against hurt and harm and hate and harangue.

Heck, at one point I absent-mindedly touched the side of my temple – and I didn’t feel the arm of a pair of glasses that SHOULD be there.  And yet, I could clearly see items in the distance.

Granted, my cataract surgery – and the resulting toric insert lenses – still require my need for “reading glasses,” and my trip to Walmart involved purchasing some “cheaters” for close-up work.  After several different trials and errors, I settled on a pair of 2.0x magnifiers.

And at some point in time, when my toric lenses are fully aligned and I finish my post-surgical eye drops, I’ll get a set of prescription progressive lenses.  The prescription will be at the bottom of the lens – for reading and close-up work – while the upper part of the lens will be essentially window glass.

The next thing I need to do is drive to the Department of Motor Vehicles and determine whether I should update my driver’s license to remove the “corrective lens requirement.”  Just another thought in my life.

I’m not used to this.

But I could get used to this.