It happened while I waited at the bus stop. I was going about my usual routine of watching the road for my afternoon bus as many, many cars sped past the block. There was a chill in the air so I was stuffing hands in pockets in between glances through my monocular. No one else waited alongside me.
I lifted my monocular, which I’ve had since my O&M training three years ago, to my right eye and all of a sudden I couldn’t see through the lens. As I rotated it and hoped it was just out of focus, I heard a clinky rustle, sort of like the one you hear when using a kiddie toy kaleidoscope and it rattles as the colored plastic pieces rearrange themselves. Uh oh. Now I was unaided twice-over: alone and lensless.
Well, I know what to do if I have to venture more in the dark than I already am. I stand at my bus stop like I was taught with my cane prominently in front of me, facing the oncoming traffic. I refrained from acting like a staff-weilding Charlton parting the waters, but there was enough wind that day to be dramatic if I had let my hair down. Maybe next time.
No bus driver ever misses me in bus-catching formation. When the next bus slows down, if I still can’t read the illuminated marquee I will listen for the vehicle’s pre-recorded announcement. If none plays, I will simply verify with the bus driver which bus it is before I board. Staying informed keeps one from unintended detours.
Soon I catch my bus and when I get to Stockton’s office, I tell him about my broken device. He gives it a turn. “Yup, it’s broken alright.”
I check out websites that stock magnifiers for a replacement. All of the initial options are pretty expensive and I’m hesitant to lay out that kind of money when it’s not for a terrier related expense. Stockton suggests that I look on eBay. In a matter of minutes, I find an affordable choice from a reputable reseller in the business of recycling electronics and other gadgets. My tree-hugger heart soars. I thank Stockton for his great retail idea and I order my low vision aid.
Once it arrives, I test it and frown. I tell Stockton it has the blurry-to-me extra magnified field at the bottom of the lens like my old one did when it still worked. He peers through it. “Hmmm. Not seeing what you’re talking about…”
I explain in exasperation then take back the monocular and look again. It dawns on me. My implanted silicone oil must be giving off an extra reflection. Eye roll commence. I’ll deal. Thankfully, there’s no kaleidoscope sounds from my new monocular, just magnified objects on demand. It’s ready for the road.