Appreciating modern materials
At work but away from my usual desk, I must have done some sort of nervous tucking hair behind ears manoeuvre, which resulted in my glasses flying several metres through the air and bouncing across a concrete floor. These were new glasses (which probably explains why they weren’t in precisely the expected place on my head!) so I was particularly pleased to find they had survived the ordeal, although since I’d got a buy-one-get-one-free offer it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if they had broken. But it did make me appreciate how much lighter and tougher and probably cheaper glasses have become over the years, and it made me think about Dave – who was my boss about twenty-five years ago, who had severe myopia. I once tried his glasses on and apart from them weighing a tonne; it was like looking through one of those bees-eye kaleidoscopes things they sell in retro toy shops.
Dave was an unknown quantity, recruited from outside. He didn’t say much to anyone for the first week or two, so none of us quite knew what to make of him. He was probably just ‘finding his feet’ but I warmed to the guy the first time I heard him speak. He had left his goldfish bowl office and was ambling between the desks of our open plan department towards the exit when his fit, young secretary called him back because there was someone important on the phone. He rolled his eyes and said, “Fucking hell, I was just going for a crap,” and back-tracked to his office to take the call.
Anyway, about the glasses. He had called us all into his office for a meeting. He started by asking the lads to tone down the innuendo; the school-boy humour … but there was a wasp buzzing around and people were flapping at it. “Just ignore it,” he said. “If you ignore it, it will ignore you.” He went on to explain that he enjoyed a joke as much as anyone, but it was going too far when no-one could say anything without it being turned into something smutty. Then he moved on to the next item on the agenda – except he couldn’t find his agenda – it had been misplaced. “Where’s my secretary? I need my secretary in here. I need my secretary screwed to the wall …”
Our raucous hilarity must have made the wasp panic. It did a crazy circuit of the small office we were packed in, and dived for safety behind the thick lenses of Dave’s glasses. He reacted – like anyone would – by flinging the glasses from his face so they hit the desk and shattered. Poor Dave, he was an ‘occasional’ contact lens wearer but had to wear them for about a fortnight with streaming red eyes until his glasses were fixed.
Thank goodness for modern materials and BOGOF’S.