It was definitely well before I needed glasses that my family and friends noticed I had a vision problem. It was not actually a problem with my eyes but rather with the way what I saw connected to my brain. I couldn’t blame my troubles on dementia or even early onset Alzheimer’s because they began when I was still in grade school…. Of course, back then others blamed my mother for my fashion faux pas.
When I moved west for college, I was excited to continue horseback riding. It was only after several rides that new friends pointed out that my jodhpurs with their wide, baggy hips weren’t what everyone else was wearing. I hadn’t noticed! And speaking of pants…sharp eyed stylish women seem to recognize how high their pants should rise and when boot cut becomes bell bottom. I have to count on kind friends to tell me when to take my belts to Goodwill or buy new cuffed pants just like the ones they encouraged me to get rid of a mere couple of years back. I may have observation problems, but I pride myself on being a good listener. When I was told that even in Colorado teachers didn’t wear snow pants to school, I stopped wearing them even on the coldest days.
I also have a problem noticing important things like front and back, Wouldn’t you think the fashion industry would be consistent…low in front…high in back. I’ve learned a secret though which helps a lot: pockets always face forward. And there’s the problem of inside and outside. Some clothing manufacturers must think they are clever when they produce clothes with the seams on the outside. I’ve only been fooled once…at my cousin’s wedding.
Maybe keeping up with “in” and “out” is a big part of my perceptual problem. I think I’m a slow learner. I’d just noticed that miniskirts were “in” when they were suddenly “out.” Diamonds used to be a girl’s best friend, and I’d have assumed they still were had I not just read recently that they were passé’.
My observational problem has caused my children all kinds of grief. I got the wrong kind of jeans for my kids…and I’d even driven past the middle school playground to be sure I make sure I made the right choice. My oldest son told me never, ever to bring his forgotten homework to school. No one else’s mother would have arrived in a beautiful boiled wool coat and cozy snowmobile boots! When my oldest daughter pointed out that “everyone else’s mother” was wearing sandals I hurried to buy a pair, and when I Triumphantly returned home to show them off I was greeted with groans. I’d gotten the wrong kind. Sandals are sandals, aren’t they?
And now I’ve grandchildren. They’ve noticed my problem too. When my oldest saw me leaving for school wearing a recent purchase, she asked, “Oh, Grams, is it Ugly Sweater Day?”