Dealing with winter

There are as I am certain you know discoverable secrets for handling a problem.  My problem is winter. It is a decidedly pervasive influence at this time of year in Canada and one that requires exacting manoeuvres complicated by the COVID pandemic.  Until now we’ve dodged the overwhelming effect of winter but I have at last avowed the ineluctable reality. The passage from summer and autumn to winter has been an extra special test because – in terms that are understandable – I have had to compose an entirely new wardrobe and so far without success. The least compelling modification has been to reacquaint myself with the art of layering; learning to avoid wearing too much or too little depending on the temperature and snow condition. The most demanding alteration has been the switch from short pants to long pants.  This is not something I prefer to do because for the past six years I have literally worn nothing but short pants throughout the entire year! Short pants are for me the acme of comfort; and I have a considerable collection as testament to the persuasion. When buying them I have only to get the correct waist size; no need to fuss with the alteration of length. It is the fortune of the current circumstances that I have nothing to do and nowhere to go.  Accordingly I wear only sweat pants, an unflattering compromise preferred by old fogeys generally.  And for good reason!

Given my perpetually changing girth – and ignoring the annoyance of pant length – I have only a remote interest in buying something more dignified than gym pants. For this reason I welcomed the unanticipated pleasure this morning of substitute retail therapy. Last week I had been puttering on the internet in search of some eyeglasses.  Eyeglasses are among those cherished accessories which have always drawn me in. The latest commercial exploit was last year in Sarasota when we wintered on Longboat Key.  I bought a new pair because I was disappointed with the cheap magnifiers at the pharmacy. When my crystalline lenses were removed and replaced with synthetics in the summer of 2019 I was awarded 20 – 20 vision for distance but 1.5 magnification for reading. The difference from my former prescription glasses was glaring because I had worn prescription lenses since the age of ten years. Initially I tried various levels of pharmacy reading glasses (1.5, 1.75, 2.5, 2.75 and so on) but I felt it was time for higher quality.

What triggered the subsequent curiosity was admittedly driven more by vanity than optometric. His Lordship and I had been watching Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm on Bell Canada’s Crave TV. One episode featured Shelley Berman wearing preposterously large but oddly appealing frames. I had never seen Shelley Berman but I had the clearest recollection of one of his early comedy sketches. When living in Washington DC in about 1955 my parents regularly listened to an LP of his on their enormous stereo turntable. Naturally I immediately downloaded the original album on Apple Music and it proved reliably humorous. It was however Berman’s glasses on Crave that detained my fullest attention.

The Grammy winner and Emmy-nominated actor was one of the most successful stand-up comedians of the 1950s and ’60s. His 1959 live record, “Inside Shelley Berman,” was the first comedy album to be certified gold (with more than 500,000 sales) and was the first non-musical recording to win a Grammy Award. Two other albums, “Outside Shelley Berman” and “The Edge of Shelley Berman,” also went gold.

Initially I thought the frames were too outlandish to be real.  But the more I saw him wearing them, the more I began to think, “You know what, they could really work!” Thus began my on-line shopping investigation.  As usual my Google search pulled up both cheap and more costly renditions of “mens large frame eyeglasses”. What caught my attention was a similar though not identical pair by Tom Ford made in Italy.

SmartBuy Glasses

The frames appeared on more than one site. I betray my age by confessing a lingering reluctance to do business with a computer.  I always want to know where the company is located in so-called “real” terms; and, the issue of monetary trust survives. The site which I eventually settled on as the most desirable had a further contortion; that is, did they (wherever they were) deliver to Canada?  So I sent a quick email, never fully expecting a response, least of all quickly. I was mistaken on both counts.  Within twenty-four hours (and this pointedly on the heels of New Year’s Eve) I received an extremely polite and specifically helpful email from SmartBuy Glasses. Though they carried what I wanted and delivered it to Canada, I was still hesitant to jump in.  But this morning – actually in the middle of the night – I re-read the email and decided to take the leap.  It was a seamless endeavour (assisted by PayPal I might usefully add). Below is a screenshot of the on-line “try it on” module.  I am told the product should arrive within the next couple of weeks.

I know they look outlandish but I am confident from what I know from having worn eyeglasses for over sixty years and from having purchased many designer frames made in Italy (I recognized the popular icons and logos on the frames) that I will be satisfied. The measurements of the bridge and temples are precisely aligned to what I require. The expected weight and plastic composition are also to my liking.