I remembered an odd snippet from from an early morning dream today not long before I finally got up, just a three or four minute slice. Iâ€™m sitting in a in a dim eye doctorâ€™s room with one of those big multi-lens things in front of my face like when they are trying to determine your prescription.
The machine was immaculately maintained but very old looking, the textured industrial green of a hard working parochial school overhead projector or maybe an aged middle school biology lab microscope.
On the wall in front of me is a projected photograph instead of a chart of letters or rotated capital Eâ€™s. The doctor on my left is somewhat distorted because of the lenses on my eyes, but I can tell he is balding and has heavy jowls, very thick glasses and a white lab coat. Only the center of my vision is really clear.
The picture on the wall is a faded snapshot of a boy outdoors in a light jacket looking away from the camera, neither happy nor unhappy. The doctor says, â€œDoes the boy look,â€ and he flips some lenses around. â€œâ€¦like heâ€™s so lost in the folly of daydreams about the â€˜bigâ€™ adventures he thinks he deserves that heâ€™s missing out on little moments that are right in front of him because he fails to realize at his tender age that itâ€™s memories like the petrichor smell of a late winter rain that will flash before his mindâ€™s eye at the moment of his demise?â€
He flips some different lenses, some quality of my vision changes, and he continues. â€œOr, are we looking at a boy whoâ€™s in an awkward period between the childhood that he both clings to and eagerly wants to leave behind, and the early adulthood which he longs for because it promises vague freedoms he canâ€™t yet put into words, freedoms which he will find are earned only through trials that often feel so arbitrary and costly afterward that he will question their value time and time again?â€
And Iâ€™d hear my voice go, â€œUhâ€¦ the first one.â€ I guess this was not a visual acuity test.
Heâ€™d grunt his understanding and then the photo on the wall would change. I donâ€™t remember the other images now. I woke up and wondered if Iâ€™d just had a complex lesson about how I perceive and unconsciously narrate the world in front of my eyes, or if I was just reliving the process of flipping through Instagram filters to preview how they change the feel of a photo. Also, I remembered I havenâ€™t been to the eye doctor for a while.