No, this post isn’t about hopping a midnight flight from LA to DC. In fact, I’m one of the few people I know who hasn’t flown an airplane since before 9-11. It has nothing to do with the fear of flying into a skyscraper or having my toes strip-searched at check in. I just don’t have the budget to vacation anywhere further than where my minivan’s full tank of gas will take me.
I call this post Catch the Red Eye because I actually have a red eye. Fortunately it’s not contagious. I was just looking for a title that was catchy. I’m full of puns today.
Here’s my story:
I sat down to dinner last Monday when my husband Tom noticed my eye.
“Wow. Your eye looks really red.”
It wasn’t wow with an exclamation point or anything since nothing short of an emotionally-vested baseball or football game would warrant palpable excitement out of him.
I figured my left eye was just red from the year-long bout of shingles I can’t completely shake. But my daughter Mary leaned over and looked, and her shock and awe equaled about half an exclamation point.
“Yeah, Mom. It’s kind of gross.”
Tom also noted that my right eye was the wrong eye to be red, so I went to the bathroom mirror to take a look.
Yuck! It was really red! It was like my eye was bleeding on the inside, but the eyeball was holding all the blood in. There was a large spot on the outside corner of my eye, and in the next few days it spread through the rest of my eye.
My doctor assured me it was just a broken blood vessel and that it would go away eventually. It doesn’t hurt, so I don’t really think about it. It’s only when I run into someone I know that I remember I look ghastly.
“Geez! What happened to your eye?!”
Most of my friends use the exclamation point in this case. It’s nice to know that they care so much about me that their voice grows loud and concerned. It’s also a good thing for me to know that my husband cares about me even if he doesn’t use an exclamation point when commenting on my potential blindness.
It’s an interesting experience when I talk to people I don’t know. I find that when we meet, they are either drawn to my eye, or they’re trying particularly hard not to look at it. During our chat, I imagine our actual conversation juxtaposed with the conversation in the stranger’s head:
Me: “Hi. I’m Mary’s mom, Cathy. Thanks for dropping off Kristen.”
Stranger: “Hi. I’m Jamie. Kristen’s mom.”
Stranger’s Head: Jesus Christ! What happened to her eye?!
Me: “Mary talks about Kristen all the time. I’m glad we finally lined up a play date.”
Stranger: “Me too.”
Stranger’s Head: God, that thing must hurt like a bitch! Kristen didn’t mention that Mary’s mom had an accident.
Me: “Mary just got a new dog, so they might take it to the park. Would that be ok?”
Stranger: “Sure. Kristen loves dogs.”
Stranger’s Head: It doesn’t seem to bother her, but that eye’s really red. Is she stoned? There are a lot of those shops with the green crosses in this neighborhood.
Me: “Can I get you something to drink? To eat?”
Stranger’s Head: Munchies? Yeah, she’s stoned.
Stranger: “No, thanks. I was just going to drop off Kristen and pick her up in a couple of hours.” (pause) “Or less.”
Me: “I’d be happy to take her home.”
Stranger (a little too quickly): “No!”
Stranger’s Head: But she’s only got one red eye. I don’t think you can be half stoned.
Stranger: “I mean, thanks, but I need to come back to the area around 5:00 anyway.”
Stranger’s Head: Is her eye always that red? Maybe it’s a birth defect.
Me: “Great. So I’ll see you about 5:00?”
Stranger’s Head: Bummer for her. She probably gets a lot of people gawking at her.
Me: “Later?” (No answer). “Julie?”
Stranger’s Head: Damn! She caught me staring at that bloody thing! Look somewhere else!
(Stranger nods over to Tom who’s watching a football game).
Stranger: “Is that Mary’s dad?”
Me: “Her stepdad. Tom, this is Jamie, Kristen’s mom.”
Tom (ignoring stranger, shouting at tv): “Run! Run! Run! You $^%@* tool!”
Me: “Sorry. My husband’s a big Colts fan.”
Stranger’s Head: Wow! Mary’s stepdad sure loves his exclamation points!
Stranger: “My husband likes the Red Eyes.”
Stranger’s Head: “What the hell came out of my mouth? Backpedal! Backpedal!”
Stranger: “I mean Redskins.”
Stranger’s Head: Damn! I hope Kristen has a terrible play date. I can’t face this woman again.
I say goodbye to Kristen’s mom Julie and escort her out the door. Thank goodness. She had something green on the tip of her nose and I couldn’t stop staring at it.