With Eyes Unfocused
I noticed it about hour 6 of the plane ride to London, how much my eyes hurt. I had recently gotten new glasses which were different lenses than I was used to, partially because I had been experiencing eye spasms and partially because it had been a couple years and mostly because my parents offered to pay.
However my eyes still spasmed and wouldn’t focus when I went to look at my various and variously beloved electronic devices and when I went back to talk to the stateside optometrist who took my measurements she offered one piece of advice.
"Look at screens less."
This proved to be hard. Ian O’Keefe had lent me his PSVita for the trip and I was getting heavily back in to an extremely nuanced Japanese role-playing game that involved Jungian psychology, evil TV monsters and trying to get every girl to be your girlfriend.
Anyway, it was around hour 6 of the plane that I noticed my eyes would no longer focus unless I made them and then with significant pain. I took some Motrin which helped with the pain but not with the focusing, which was sporadic at best. I chocked it up to jet lag and the hour and the complimentary wine I had been given on the plane and kept playing with about a two hour break for sleep before arriving, suddenly as it always is, in London.
The truth was I had been looking at screens more than I should for a while but it was hard to tell whether the problem lay with my glasses or myself. I had been fired two weeks before I was scheduled to quit my coffee shop job to go on this trip to “find myself”, which permitted me both unemployment money (thanks max) and enough time to catch up on some video games and TV watching (preferably at the same time) that I had been missing out on with my past schedule which was:
Dinner quick and cheap 7-7:30pm
See/do a cheap comedy show 8-10pm
Rush home and try to get to bed before 10:30 so I could survive.
Not a lot of time for video gaming there. Or really anything.
So I had been looking at screens, eating terribly, not doing yoga, though not for the self hating reasons one might think.
In my mind, the structure and packaging and self-imposed rules and restrictions of my life were what allowed it to go on for so long but also what kept me a prisoner in a situation I was unhappy in. The same rules that kept me going home in time so I got enough sleep to survive made sure it would be hard to see cool shows or go out for a drink with friends or have a serious conversation about how unhappy I was at my job.
So it felt good to just be an unfocused slob for a while.
But when I got to London and needed to use my phone for maps and other good things it still was impossible to focus my eyes. I increased the font size on my phone which helped slightly. I drank coffee which made it worse. I drank lager which made it worse. I played more of Ian’s video games which did not help at all.
It god bad enough that I went to consider medical help in famously free-medicine London where I passed the Centre for Optometry where the discussion went something like this
Me (attempting to sound at least a little British): Hi, quite sorry to bother, but I seem to be having a spot of issue with my eyes. They won’t focus proper-like.
Receptionist: Well, when was your last eye exam?
M: Less than a month ago.
R: Well then it won’t do any good doing a new one so soon.
M: But I’ve got a real problem. My eyes won’t focus.
R: Well did you tell your last doctor about that?
M: Yes they told me not to stare at screens so much.
R: And have you been staring at screens much?
M: Well yes I’m on vacation.
R: Well then.
M: Good day.
My (Ian’s) PSVita was pick pocketed from me during a layover in Lille as I attempted to recharge my phone using an Eco-friendly electric bike generator they had placed in the terminal to dupe tourists.
This left me less harm for my eyes but only hours away from defeating the Japanese goddess who had been flooding the small town my teenage avatar had been staying in with fog that dissolved the barrier between our world and the shadows that tumblr from our unconscious that threaten to consume us and, also, from getting every girl to be my girlfriend.
It did also cause me to briefly send too many international text messages as I grew bored of staring at Belgians and cows from my pretty train window.
Since then, I’ve been in Amsterdam, wandering around, partying a bit in the way a nerdy comedian type who hates clubs and finds the idea of paying for sex sincerely unromantuc might do and reading quite a bit on my phone, rereading “In The Name of The Wind” and struggling with my own ability to focus my eyes.
I’ve had various “revelations” wandering around Amsterdam:
-The point of life is to enjoy every present moment, since there is so much to enjoy.
-Why not just be drunk and stoned every minute then? Because it’s a denial of the wonder of everything to just be curled up mumbling somewhere all the time. There’s so much more to life.
-Amidst this, one needs to find a way to survive that agrees with them.
-I love my girlfriend a lot and the high I get from that is better than anything else.
No groundbreakers but some interesting ones.
My dad and Emily agree from my last couple of posts that I should try my hand at making money on teaching and coaching and producing comedy and that that doesn’t preclude me from performing. I know, as I look over the rosters for SUPERNOVA this morning and grin at myself thinking of moments that I loved when I was coaching, Steve Ling coming in as a doiuchey replacement best friend in a series of scenes done by Kim Kutt and Dylan Evans called “Thirty Days, Thirty Laya”, that I am very good at coaching.
But I guess to admit, that idea scares me. I’m good at coaching, very good I think, but I’m not on a team anywhere and I’m currently a better director than a performer. Would people hire me or enough people that I’d survive? What else could I do? There’s no easy path, no structure.
I guess with my girlfriend and my pops suggesting it that’s what I’m leaving towards trying right now but for all my decent, typo-filled writing and moments of lucidity, it still feels painful to commit towards something I really want and risk failure.
I open myself to mockery and my father and others voices asking me what I’m doing in the entertainment business if I can’t handle failure but all I can say is that isn’t the sort of response I respond to from other people or myself well.
I miss playing Ian’s video game. It was very good. And my eyes still focus poorly trying to look at the rosters for the next round of SUPERNOVA or writing this in the comfort of a Starbucks.
But for anything else, I write, my shoulders untensing, it’s good to consider. To write. To get it out. You know?
For those interested, the game Ian lent me is called “Persona 4: The Golden”. I lent him two games in return I highly recommend called “999” and “Virtue’s Last Reward”. So yeah.