Here Comes the Sun(glasses)
I saw the strangest thing today -- a Buick sedan in the school parking lot. Was there an undercover cop visiting campus? He would have been much less conspicuous in a metallic light green Camry. It must have been someone's company car.
The only thing that would have been more unusual is if the Buick in question had been sporting a "Bush/Cheney" bumper sticker. If it had, you can bet that several deeply offended parents would have quickly organized an impromptu protest of some kind.
My problem is sunglasses. If you were to ask Sandra Bullock, she would waste no time before agreeing. She is uniquely attuned to my sunglass problems.
The problem is simple: I lose them. Or if I don't lose them, I break them. And until today, I refused to replace my lost / broken sunglasses with a low-priced model. To hear my wife explain it -- usually with me wincing and defending my case in the background -- I was put on this earth to slowly spend all of her money on sunglasses.
She, on the other hand, owned the same pair of tortoiseshell Ralph Lauren shades for six years before finally relenting and buying a pair whose frame of fashion reference came from the 21st century. It took the combined efforts of Mrs. Rock Star and me, plus the consumer-friendly aura surrounding Santa Monica, California, to convince the smug Bullock to put away the RLs and spring for a new pair.
Meanwhile, I continued to tear through specs as if they were flour tortillas. And to further rub salt in SB's imagined wound, I usually replaced the lost or broken pair with an almost identical pair of black wraparounds by Smith or Arnette. "I can't get cheap sunglasses," I'd explain. "My contacts make my eyes sensitive to light."
I have lost sunglasses in very creative ways. My favorite happened one morning during one of my hapless attempts at a "normal" career. I was running for a waiting MUNI train at the Civic Center station, and the doors were about to close. So I tore across the platform and leaped into the car as the doors closed. Satisfied, I looked around the crowded car and announced, "Whew! Just made it!"
A few feet from me, sitting facing backwards, wearing the most dour expression ever recorded in modern history, a young woman said nothing. Instead, she just pointed to the now-closed doors. On the other side, a sad-looking man held my sunglasses. I shrugged. "Goodbye, sunglasses," I said silently, "I hope you bring as much joy to this man as you brought to me."
One time I took BART downtown to get new contacts. I'm usually pretty good with regular eyeglasses, but this time I got off at Montgomery and my glasses decided to ride all the way to Walnut Creek.
One summer I had two pairs of Smith wraparounds break right at the nose. A few months later the slick-looking matte finish Arnettes I bought as a replacement suddenly lost one of their lenses. They sat, forlorn and useless, in the glovebox of the Subaru until the day we traded it in for the Volvo.
Each time I lose or break a pair, Sandra Bullock insists that I spend exactly $50 for replacements. I try to explain that, much as I learned during our kitchen remodel that there is no such thing as a $1500 range, there is no such thing as $50 sunglasses. There are $30 sunglasses and $75 sunglasses, but no $50 ones. Hers cost $50, but that was in, like, 1988.
Naturally, the few times I've bought cheap sunglasses I've been unable to break or lose them. They're virtually useless as sun protection and only occasionally add anything positive to my overall look, but they are certainly persistent.
And all this time I have Sandra Bullock proudly wearing that pair of stretched out, cockeyed, aged Ralph Lauren tortioise shell sunglasses, bragging about how she's had them for six years while I've burned through hundreds of dollars of eyewear.
A couple of months ago, while visiting Roger A. Hunt, I lost my most recent pair of Arnettes. Actually, I lost them, found them and then lost them again. Sometimes, when I lose a pair, I'll try to replace them on the sly, buying a little time until Bullock sees the bank statement. I gain nothing but a couple of weeks of peace, which, now that I think about it, is hardly nothing. If I break a pair, she can't complain, though she may mention something about taking proper care of sunglasses may prevent breakage, allowing me the opportunity to wear them long after they have lost their pinache. The fact that I often lose them, however, drives her crazy.
Since I was 400 miles from home, I quickly went out and bought another pair. After all, I was in Orange County, the breadbasket of sunglasses. I went to the gigantic Ron Jon surf shop and bought some weird surfer brand, slapped them on and was happy. That is, until today, when I grabbed said pair and put them on, only to discover that one lense had a scratch so large as to render it almost entirely opaque.
What have I done to anger the sunglass god? I am a loyal consumer of sunglasses. I have never spoken badly about them. And yet, in the world of sunglasses, I am cursed.
But this time, Sandra Bullock will be pleased. The glasses I bought at the Sports Authority coast a mere $19.99. And they look it. I got them home and realized that I might have bought women's sunglasses by mistake. But they cost only $19.99, and that's the important part.