On Mental Breaks and Reading Glasses

I got my first reading glasses back in July 2012. The fact that I was not wearing those reading glasses Thursday evening plays a small but substantial role in the following story.

Regular readers know that I don’t really watch TV. Television was one of  several things that I gave up in order to have more time to write. Besides, much of what I was seeing on television I simply didn’t like.

That said, on Thursday evening, Kelly was watching some show and I caught a clip of the new Michael J. Fox show and I thought that might be fun to watch–at least the first episode. I noted that it was going to premier Friday night at 9 pm. For some reason, the thought of sitting in bed Friday evening after the kids were asleep and watching that show with Kelly sounded very appealing to me. All day Friday, from the time I woke up until the time I was getting the kids ready for bed, I kept thinking how much I was looking forward to the show.

It was the show per se that I was looking forward to. It was the brief mental break. I am almost always doing something: working, writing, reading, blogging, playing with the kids, doing chores around the house, etc., etc., ad infinitum. The thought of giving my brain a rest of one hour Friday evening seemed very appealing.

I was prepared. I made sure our nightly routine started on time and went smoothly. The last few nights the kids have gone to bed later than usual and have taken longer to fall asleep, but I was determined to have them in bed and asleep well before the Michael J. Fox show started. They didn’t particularly cooperate, but by 8:30 pm, they were in good enough shape where I could leave them, return to our room, and get ready to give my brain an hour’s vacation.

When I came into the room, I saw Michael J. Fox’s face on the TV. I thought it might be a commercial for the show, but no, it was the show itself, and it was practically over. I must have looked confused because Kelly said, “Um, yeah it started at eight, and I didn’t want to come in there to tell you in case the kids were already asleep.”

All I really heard was “It started at eight.” It is not often when I feel bitterly disappointed, but for the next ten minutes or so, that was exactly how I felt. It wasn’t that I missed the show (they had back-to-back episodes so I got to see the next one) but it was that I had looked forward to watching the show with Kelly all day long. It was almost like the thought of that mental break got me through the day. I prepared well for it and was back in my room 30 minutes before it was supposed to start.

Well, no, not exactly. It started right when it was scheduled to start. The failure was my own. When I saw the time last night, I wasn’t wearing my glasses and I guess I thought I saw a 9 pm instead of an 8 pm. Given the similarity of the two, the mistake was a natural one. And I was really disappointed. I can’t quite explain why, but I was. It completely killed my mood.

To make matters worse, I couldn’t even watch the second episode with Kelly. The kids were not completely asleep and they wanted someone in their room with them for a little while so Kelly went into their room while I watched the second episode of the show. By myself.

The show was pretty funny, but I didn’t really get that mental break I was looking for because I was fretting throughout the show about how I was looking forward to the break all day and then managed to screw it up.

Perhaps the really underlying downer was the evidence of aging. If I hadn’t needed glasses last year, if my vision had stayed 20/20 as it had most of my life, I wouldn’t have needed to remember to put them on, and wouldn’t have misread what I thought I saw on the screen on Thursday night. I would have known the show was on at 8 pm instead of an hour later, and all would have worked out just fine. But my vision is no longer 20/20 and I do find it useful to have glasses on when I am reading. And I think it was probably this more than anything else that led to my frustration last night.

Ultimately, I missed that mental break because I’m getting older.

One comment

  1. Sympathy, man. I’m currently wondering if all the time spent editing my novel this summer contributed to the fact that last year I used my reading glasses occasionally at the end of a long day and now I use them everyday, most of the day. My eye Dr. says, Nay, but I wonder… But hey, I bet we’re both better writers than we were a few years ago! Cheers.


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