Freak of nature

During my eye exam yesterday the nurse/technician/miscellaneous person who did some of the preliminary tests said, “Wow! You have such a difference in vision between your eyes!” (My left eye is -1.75, the right -3.50.)

“Is that unusual?” I asked.

“Well, most people have a slight difference between their eyes, but this…this is rare that there would be such a difference,” he replied wide-eyed and smiling. “But you don’t have an astigmatism…” He looked puzzled. “Did you ever have a lazy eye?”

“Um, no. You know, I’ve been going to the eye doctor for a long time and no one’s mentioned this before. This really isn’t that common?”

The technician shook his head. “The last time I saw this was when I worked in Florida with many Jewish seniors who had survived the Holocaust. At the concentration camps they had little protein to eat, so their eyes developed very differently — like -1.75 in one compared to, say, -15 in the other. So whenever I would meet an elderly patient with those terrible numbers stamped on their forearm, I knew what I would find…”


“Um, so I guess my vision difference isn’t so bad then?”

The optometrist later commented it was unusual but not unheard of and he’d been practicing for a long time (he flashed a sexy bad boy smile to make me feel better). He also said it was great my freaky vision had been so stable for the last several years.

It reminded me of the time when I was about 20 shopping for my first business attire. I had gone with my mom to the Lord & Taylor in Paramus, NJ.

Paramus, btw, is where the combination of overcrowding, shopping and major highways with short merge lanes interesecting causes death-defying displays of stupid driving every 3 seconds. In fact, it’s commonplace for drivers ed instructors to force high school juniors who live in the area to practice their merging skills getting onto Route 17. They’re a little nuts, those instructors… but not as nutty as the ones who force their students to merge from Route 17 onto Route 4. Oh, now that’s just plain wrong. And if you’re from the area you know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, I had bought my first interview suit, but, as usual, needed the cuffs taken out a bit for my long arms. A little old seamstress with an unidentifiable accent measured each arm and proclaimed in broken English, “This one is longer than the other, you know.”

No, I didn’t know and, as I was only 20, I then obsessed about it for many days afterwards even though the difference (and I can’t remember which arm is longer) is only like 1/8-1/4 of an inch. Today, I accept this as one of my many charming quirks — except when my freakazoid limb gets caught in the door because I can’t see well enough in my right eye to pull it out of the way.


11 thoughts on “Freak of nature

  1. When my friend went to have her wedding dress fitted, the seamstress told her that one shoulder was significantly higher than the other. Turns out it was from carrying her very heavily loaded college bookbag on one shoulder! Have you been totin’ water from the well with just one arm?

  2. Susan,

    I love to visit your blog. I am always guaranteed a giggle and you just can’t say that about anything!

    Me? Same thing with my boobies. Oh and one ear is higher than another. Not much fun for trying on glasses but thank goodness for hair!

    Wish I could see the bad boy optometrist. God knows I could use some good eye candy!

  3. I’m pretty sure I haven’t stretched my arm out by carrying purses or water jugs that were too heavy, but who knows? Now I think it’s funny because I was completely obsessed about it at the time. And, Tonya and Mini, that’s pretty common with many of us…which is why plastic surgeons stay in business. Perfection is hard to come by for most mortals!

  4. On the topic of “No One’s Ever Mentioned This Before,” I was recently at the periodontist for a cracked tooth. He informed me that he could tell by my tongue and gums that I clenched my teeth at night. And that I may need braces to correct it, lest I create a stress fracture to more of my teeth.

  5. My optometrist always says with his brightest smile, “Hey, you’re in great shape.” To which I respond (in my head, of course) “Why thank you very much.” Congrats on your stable freaky vision. I force mine to be the same so the contacts are cheaper.

  6. Susan,

    While everyone is commenting on your vision…I have to comment on the driving in NJ…having lived there for 5 years I totally know what you are talking about. I couldn’t believe it when we first moved there – people would come flying up the shoulder of the road and used it as both a passing lane and turning lane – scared the bejesus out of me the first several times it happened to me – then I too learned how to do it! Oh, and what about the round-abouts and jug-handles? I used to just close my eyes and pray as I “merged” into the round abouts and I never did get the “Go left to turn right” of a jug handle!!! I thank living in NJ for my road rage back here in PA!

  7. Beth, up in northen Jersey I don’t think they had too many jug handles/round abouts, but in the center part of the state, where The Ex, is from, I had a few tries at them. Scary stuff! The bad thing about where we live now is that many drivers are either too slow or too nice, letting everyone in even when it’s not their right of way, which is a driving hazard in itself. We need a happy medium.

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