Getting toward the end of an unusually long winter, I was near desperate to see the sun shine today. It was glorious just to be able to leave work and go down the street for an eye examination. There were numbing drops, funny glasses and machines. There were also dilating drops, tears and tissues. Inside that dark room was the last place I wanted to be on a day full of bright prospects of better days to come.
The sun had been an outlet for me on the drive down to the eye doctor. However, it wasn’t available to me inside. So, I used one of the other outlets I bring with me everywhere I go. It’s like compassion or a positive attitude. They’re portable and you can carry them without weighing you down. Not everyone can see those accessories though, so I opted to get some relief in the day by using my sense of humor.
Thirty minutes into my eye examination and this sterile environment, I had to let them know what I brought. I wasn’t sure when or how the opportunity would present itself but when the eye chart was put in front of me, I knew I had my moment to shine.
“Can you see the chart? What does it say?”
“Yes”, she heard me say, “it’s awful.”
“What?! Why is it awful? You’re doing great. What is the matter?”
“Nothing. It’s ofl.” – “O – F – L.”
She looked at me the way I see people look at my Dad over the years. They don’t know what to make of him. It’s a cross between wondering if they understood properly or if he’s gone mad. People don’t seem to expect a sense of humor to come out of an 84-year-old man.
Evidently, they don’t expect humor out of a 47-year-old medical study patient either. I was just trying to bring some sunshine into our afternoon. That’s how I saw it. Looking at her blank face, and back at the chart, I thought I was hysterical. Evidently not.
“OK. Let’s try the next line.”
So much for the impact of my humor, I wanted the sunshine again. I was ready to enjoy the ride back to my office and savor it twice as much as the ride down. Or so I thought. They’d dilated my eyes so much with those damn drops, leaving the building was like looking directly into a flashlight. I walked very slowly, looked down at my shoes and shaded my eyes with the magazine I’d stolen. When I finally made it back to my car, I thought of her blank expression and laughed about my better day that had come.