Paean to a Pair of Shades

Published February 22, 2012 by livinggraciously

I wore the same sunglasses for 26 years.

Not the same kind of sunglasses. The same sunglasses.

And this was not a pair that lived in the car and were only worn while driving. I wore these glasses camping, kayaking, biking and skiing. They went with me to the neighborhood park, national parks, and amusement parks. They were perched on my nose during an Alaska river trip at the moment when I realized that I was pregnant with my first daughter.

She’s getting married next spring.

Are these glasses some expensive pair of Ray-Bans that I’ve obsessed over? Nope. Are they such a gorgeous pair of glasses that I can’t bear the thought of losing them? Uh-uh. They are a pair of Uvex tinted safety glasses that cost me a princely $9.95 at the eye shop in our local grocery store in Fairbanks, Alaska. Ferrett regards them as the ugliest sunglasses he’s ever seen–he told me once that he admired my self-confidence in continuing to wear them.

So why do I keep wearing them? Because they do everything I need in a pair of sunglasses: they are large and wrap close to my face. They continue at a right angle to protect the side of my eye. They even have a brow ridge. My eyes are basically sealed away from the dust and pollen that drive me crazy and ruin my day. I love them with all my heart.

But a quarter century of wear takes its toll on a pair of shades. And it’s gotten to the point where I put them on and it’s like looking through fog. It’s hard to give them up, but it’s time to hang them up. So after shopping around, trying a few other styles, and thinking about it, I’ve purchased replacement glasses.

Another pair of Uvex glasses exactly like the ones I’ve been wearing.

Yeah, they aren’t glamorous. But they do the job I want them to do. Today I wore them for the first time, riding my bike for 12 miles. I’m just as comfortable, but without the feeling that I’m squinting through haze.

The old pair? They’re still in my bike bag. They got to go along with me on the ride. I will have to find a place of honor for them. They’re old friends who’ve been with me almost half my life. That’s a long, long time.

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