2.28.2007

No Warranty Required

“At my age I don’t need a warranty.” That’s what the man said standing beside me at the counter as he ordered his new eyeglasses, rejecting the offer to protect his lenses. He punctuated the sentiment with a chuckle that made us all smile.

I studied him. Trifocals. A slow gait as he walked to pick out new frames. Every statement ending with a poke of humor.

The technician asked him if he read a lot, to which the man answered, “Yes.”

“The lenses aren’t positioned right for reading. They’re too low.”

“I just tip my head back,” the man said and demonstrated with a gentle movement of lifting his chin. So easy in his dialogue, not a single complaint crossing his lips. He never said, “My old glasses weren’t right? You mean, I could have read more easily?” He simply said, “I just tip my head back.”

He was there alone, this man, the epitome of peace and acceptance. He selected new frames in thirty seconds. No meandering. No time wasted obsessing. He didn’t ply the employee with questions. Just a simple, “These are light,” as he cradled his new frames in his palm.

I wanted to know this man, wanted to ask him how he’d found calm, how he learned to casually toss around his mortality. His energy was infectious. I wanted to be him.

We never had that conversation. I never got his name. He vanished in the brief moment that I looked away.

12 comments:

Nance said...

I know exactly what you mean. I so envy serenity in people. Perhaps it's an age thing, or a spirituality thing, or a geographic thing, but when it's apparent, it's stunning. Some singers seem to have it when they sing, like James Taylor. He just opens his mouth and it's effortless, as if he knows the notes will always be there. There's no straining for pitch; it's all just there. Whatever it is or wherever it comes from, I want it.

jen said...

but, sister. the real question is, was he hot?

kidding. whatever.

De at Sober wrote about glasses today, too. interesting.

Emily said...

I was just thinking, I wonder what this man would think if he knew his buying of glasses had inspired an essay by you. I guess we never know when we are being watched in the world. Nice piece.

Rach said...

How fantastic to have such serenity and calmness too. Wishing it for all of us as well

Deezee said...

Jen, had he been hot, do you think I would have turned away even for a moment? I'm far too trampish for that...(at least in my dreams...)

QT said...

Nice post - I like that you found inspiration in this every day scenario.

Someday I might be that serene...or not!

headbang8 said...

Now THAT was an important observation about life.

You know how he became so serene? I bet he was loved. That's the only way you achieve it. It's a gift from those who loved you and cared for you when your character was formed.

Those of us who futz around and can't make a decision about anything, or get anything done, aren't procrastinators or weaklings or neurotics. We're just unhappy in our skin.

Sorry to ramble...

kristen said...

I love how random strangers can make such an impact on our lives. I've adored your last 2 posts.

Average Joe said...

nice

essgee said...

This was a gem in my day. What a beautiful essay.

V-Grrrl said...

Me, I so want the warranty.

And writing that line brought to mind an old Springsteen song: Cover Me.

littlepurplecow said...

How great that you captured this moment so beautifully. We continue to shaped by the people moving in and out our lives.