Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Eyes Have It


Himself had chided me about the stress and aggravation I was putting myself through wondering what Hell I’d have to pay when I took Ma to her foot doctor’s appointment.

The Young One and I dropped The Eldest off at work, then stopped to pick up items for lunch. Bulkie rolls, turkey, provolone, chips, pretzels, pickles, and ginger ale.

Ma was tickled pink when The Young One greeted her. Oh, she was the favorite grandchild. She was the only grandchild who came to visit. Doesn’t matter that the other two grandchildren work full time. Still, no complaints from me if The Young One could keep Ma in a sunny mood.

We had a relaxing, pleasant lunch. I had an “Oh, my God, he was right” moment. All the worrying I had done for naught. I let my guard down and then Ma dropped the other shoe.

“After we go to the foot doctor, can you do me a favor?” The classic OPD control play.

I wanted to tell her, it would have been courteous for her to have called me before I got there and asked me for the favor. Just on the off chance I had plans after her doctor appointment was finished. Warily I asked her what she wanted.

“I need to go to…”

I held my breath hoping it wasn’t going to be a trip to Mahket Basket.

“Target. I can’t see with my new glasses.”

Eyeglass adjustment. Sure, no problem. A ten minute trip.

Ma packed up all the lunch things for me to take home. She told The Young One to put them in the car.

“No, leave everything in the bags except the lunch meat and cheese. They’ll spoil in the heat.”

Trip to foot doctor was fast. In and out. I even got a handicap parking spot. Ride to Target was fine, too. I offloaded the Weebles at the front door and pulled into a handicap spot.

I got Ma to the eye department and got her settled in a chair. The manager came out and greeted us. He had suspected Ma would not like the progressive lens so had kept all her paperwork in tact, even though she was well past the return the glasses, and we’ll make a new pair for free period.

Ma whined how she couldn't see to read at night to do her business. It was important for her to be able to keep up with all the paperwork. God forbid, she didn’t get the checks to the scammer on time.

The manager tried to explain how with progressive lens, you need to move your head to find the correct focal point. You couldn't just move your eyes.

Ma frowned.

He then explained the only thing he could do was to grind a new prescription with the bifocal line.

Ma frowned. She didn’t want the line. She wanted the lens like I have (progressive). She kept emphasizing the fact that she’s 90 (in September) as if her age entitled her to preferential treatment.
The manager, who should be put on the fact track for canonization, tried to refresh her memory when she first came in for the glasses. He had tried to talk her out of the progressive lens. Told her they took some time to get used to, and she wouldn't like them. Ma had insisted she didn't want the line.

She was still insisting she didn’t want the line and kept asking me what she should do.
"I can't make that decision for you." In retrospect, I should have stopped there.

A this point, Ma changed from Mrs. Dr. Jeckyll to Mrs. Hyde.

“If you can’t see out of the glasses you have now, have him make the lens with the line. It’s not going to cost you anything as the manager will exchange the glasses for a new pair.” Logical in its simplicity.

Ma didn’t want an exchange. She thought she was entitled to a complete refund and a new pair of glasses for free.

Somewhere a screaming match ensued. We put on quite a show at the Target Optical Theater of the Absurd.

“I haven’t worn these glasses because I can’t see to read.”

I’m surprised Ma’s pants didn’t spontaneously combust. She's been wearing those glasses since she got them.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were having problems with your glasses”

“No one does anything for me. I can’t count on you”

I saw red. Himself and I bend over backwards for Ma. I arrange my schedule to fit with theirs.

The manager and I went round and round with Ma trying to explain to her she wouldn’t have to pay for a new pair of glasses. She didn’t get it. She only got stubborn and insisted she was entitled to a refund. The manager should have told her to taker her business elsewhere.

He left her sitting at the table, and he waited on two other customers who were brave enough to venture onto the stage.

Dad and I retreated to a corner where we sputtered. For an hour. Yup, a solid hour, Ma sat like a stone. She was going to have her way.

After the manager dealt with two happy customers, he again tried to explain things to Ma. He implored me to act as interpreter.

“How much would it cost me if you made a new pair of glasses for me and I kept these?”

“Why do you want to keep those glasses when you can’t see out of them to read?”

“I’m talking here!” Ma screamed at me.

It was at that point, the penny dropped for me. I had an outer body experience watching the scene which was a little like Alice at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. I didn’t need the insanity of jumping up and moving down to a clean cup. This was not my monkey. I wasn’t going to be able to change the situation. I tapped The Young One (who had sat quietly through the entire charade) on the shoulder.

“Come with me.”

We left the optical department with Ma blinking after us like an owl.

“How bout we go to the electronics department?”

The Young One laughed and patted my back giving comfort to her weeble. “It’s okay.”
"I don't understand what she didn't get. The manager wasn't cheating her."
"Yeah, it was like saying I'll give you a dollar for your four quarters."
Even The Young One was astute enough to understand the transaction.

We wandered the dollar bin, the electronics department, the video games, and movies. We headed back to the optical department. Hopefully, Ma would be done with her harangue.

Dad was wandering back and forth by the front doors looking like a deer in the headlights. There was such relief on his face when he caught sight of me.

“She got worried you left,” Dad chuckled nervously

I shouldn’t have been tickled but I was. Evil child that I am. Might do Ma good to get shaken up once in a while.

Dad took Ma by the elbow. “She’s right here. She’ll bring the car around.”

“No, I’m parked right across from here. You can walk.”

Frosty silence accompanied us on the ride home.

I got the Weebles into the house, told The Young One to go get the lunch bag.

“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry,” Dad kept apologizing.

“You have nothing to apologize for. We’re victims.”

The Young One came out with the bag and we went to the car. I gave a general goodbye, but didn’t go say goodbye to Ma. She was going to ignore me. I did feel badly for Dad. He stood at the screen door giving us a half-hearted wave as we pulled out of the driveway. The fornicating he was going to get was definitely not going to be worth the fornicating he was going to get.

I wish I knew where I had put the packet of morning glory seeds. Dad could have used a few too.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

OMG, CJ! Poor you! By the way, did she get her refund and new glasses, lol?

Jo-Ann

CJ said...

My fanny was so chapped, I didn't even ask! LOL

Erica Vetsch said...

her pants would spontaneously combust??? ROFL!

I just ordered my own progressive lenses today...sigh.

you're a good woman, Gunga Din

Nutterone said...

Oh man...