Thursday, August 12, 2010

The poet Burns, Ben Franklin and Gandalf

O would some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.

Robert Burns

Apparently the healthiest thing about me are my eyes, and even they need help. It is said that Benjamin Franklin invented that rite of passage for the middle-aged, the bifocal, because of his own advancing years. I think that, like me, old Ben was a secret chorister who couldn't juggle looking at both the music and the conductor. It is time.

I was drawn by two pair of frames in the shop. One was bold and black. The other was pretty with crystals or something on the arms. I needed to put on my reading glasses to check it out properly.

First I tried on the bold and the black frames.

"Cool!" I remarked.
The saleslady tilted her head and said "H'mm. Those are very popular now with the..."
"The younger type?" I offered.
"H'mm. The arty type."
"Perfect! I'm the arty type."
The saleslady tiled her head the other way and said "H'mm".
Well, I am, I thought. Anyway, I'm the only one at the laundromat who's working on a novel.

My mind wandered back a few years, to 1984. I had taken my youngest sister Tracey to the Royal Alexandra Theatre to see Ian MacKellan in his show Acting Shakespeare. During intermission we observed the milling throng in the lobby. The well-heeled in pearls and suits sipping their wine. The comfortably dressed yet intense individuals also sipping their wine. I nodded toward the fashion-forward crowd and said "You can certainly pick out the actors in the crowd." My ten year old sister commented, "If you have to dress like one, you probably aren't."

I chose the pretty glasses with the crystals or something on the arms. I don't have to dress like I'm arty, I am arty. Just ask the folks at the laundromat.


  1. You're so funny, Caftan Woman. I can't wait to read that novel!

  2. Well, it's coming along, but you'll have a chance to see my new glasses before it is finished!

  3. 1) Thank you for taking me to all those shows.
    2) I wish I were still that insightful.

  4. MTN -

    1) My pleasure.

    2) You may be temporarily unaware of your insights due to the Keebler factor in your uterus. They will come back.

    3) Thanks.



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