Friday, December 19, 2014

A Race Against Time

This Sunday is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Sunrise is scheduled for 7:17 a.m., sunset for 4:32 p.m. Only nine hours and 15 minutes of daylight. That does not leave me with much time to wear my sunglasses outdoors.

I have owned these sunglasses for six months. They are the first pair of sunglasses I have ever owned. They are not the first pair of eyeglasses I've owned, mind you. I'm nearsighted, so I've worn prescription eyeglasses since I was in the fourth grade.

I purchased the sunglasses at the urging of my optometrist. He insisted that I start wearing prescription sunglasses because they would offer better protection against UV radiation than my normal pair of glasses. Those glasses had come with UV-coated lenses, but apparently the coat wasn't heavy enough to ward off the sun's powerful rays.

The sun could seriously damage my eyes with prolonged exposure, my optometrist warned me. Really? The sun? The star at the center of our solar system? The star around which all planets revolve? The star that inspired one of my favorite Beatles songs, "Here Comes the Sun"? 

Before I could make a firm decision on whether I should purchase a pair of sunglasses, I had to determine whether the sun was really as evil as my optometrist was suggesting.

I created a list of pros and cons for the sun in my head:

Provides us with warmth and light.

Fails to provide us with warmth and light 24 hours a day.

Supports life on Earth via photosynthesis.

Supports celebrity gossip in British tabloid that bears its name.

Delivers two scoops in every box of Kellogg's Raisin Bran.

Had a real attitude problem in Super Mario Bros. 3.

This was not an easy call to make. I needed more convincing that I had to have sunglasses. In comes the optometrist's assistant, a petite brunette with an impossibly adorable face who smiled in my direction from behind the counter. She told me I'd look good in sunglasses, and then winked at me. And there was the convincing that I needed. I handed over all my cash and walked out with a new pair of sunglasses.

My optometrist stressed to me that I should wear them whenever I would be in contact with the sun. Fortunately, I'd picked them up in the summertime -- sunglass season. A perfect time to ease into my new shades.

Except I was still reliant on my other pair of glasses. I would need them in times when I'd be indoors, or when I'd be outside at night. Ideally, I'd have my prescription eyeglasses and my prescription sunglasses in my possession at all times, so I could easily make the transition from one to the other when out of the house and as the situation warranted.

But that would be a major nuisance. There is no practical way for a man to carry two sets of glasses at the same time. I do not own a purse. All I have are pockets, and there are no guarantees that I'll be able to fit either pair of glasses in any of them.

What are the other options? I could tuck one pair inside the collar of my shirt while wearing the other. No, that would look silly. I could keep the pair not in use on the top of my head, but that would look dorky. The most sensible solution, I've discovered, is to simply carry one pair and leave the other behind.

Unfortunately, this solution raises another problem that I frequently struggle with. Too often I've worn my sunglasses out on the town, only to have to rush home as darkness starts to fall in order to retrieve my regular pair of eyeglasses. Otherwise, I'd stick out to others as the bozo who wears sunglasses when there is no sun. It's a race against time.

That's why I'm concerned by the impending winter solstice. I'll have a very limited window in which I can wear my sunglasses in public before I'll have to dash home. The race against time will start too early this Sunday.

Maybe it's time I start carrying a purse.