My first “real” girlfriend – the first woman I totally flipped for – was a slightly older woman named Beverly. On one of our first dates, she took me to the Virginia-Highland neighborhood of midtown Atlanta. It was my first time there, and we spent a rainy afternoon going through all the cute lil’ shops in the area. I felt all grown up and glamorous, as if I were so much more sophisticated than other kids in my school who were taking their dates to the local cinema or the Chinese restaurant next to the mall.
I bought a cheap pair of browline sunglasses while I was on that date. They were tortoise shell with green lenses. And they were my favorite pair of sunglasses. Sure, part of that was because when I bought them I was head over heels in love with a sexy, cosmopolitan older woman. So yes, there was an emotional attachment. But I mostly loved them because they were cool. I imagined Hunter S. Thompson wearing similar sunglasses, and I hoped to channel some of his gonzo through them.
About a year later, one of my friends accidentally dropped something important – car keys, I think – into a big drain next to one of the buildings at my school. I, being a complete idiot, had the sunglasses in my shirt pocket. So when I leaned over to look, the sunglasses slid out of my pocket and fell through the grate and into the drain, lost forevermore.
I was oddly heartbroken. Yeah, they were just a stupid pair of $5 sunglasses. Beverly and I had split a long time prior, and I’d totally moved on by then. But still.
I looked and looked for a similar pair of sunglasses, but could never find ones exactly like the pair I’d had before. Maybe the frames were black instead of tortoise shell. Maybe the accent metal was silver instead of gold. Maybe the lenses were black instead of green. And towards the end of my high school life, I developed a problem with contact lenses, and couldn’t wear them any more. So I had to wear prescription sunglasses. And since this was the suburban America in the 80s, my options were limited to whatever LensCrafters or Pearle had… which wasn’t all that.
I got my last pair of sunglasses in 1999. I thought they were super-cool, like something Neo would wear in The Matrix… an illusion instantly shattered when I came home and my then-girlfriend said I looked like Paul Shaffer from the Letterman show (so… thanks, Sheila!).
I still have my Neo\Paul Shaffer sunglasses, but they’re really falling apart. They’ve been folded closed so many times that the black has rubbed off the sides. And the tint is starting to bubble around the edges, something I became painfully aware of on my last trip to the beach: Lisa asked if I had sand all over my glasses. Nope, it was spots where the tint had come off.
So recently I stepped up and got the sunglasses of my dreams: a genuine pair of Ray Ban Clubmaster sunglasses in my prescription and everything:
Maybe I look like a big dork in them, but I don’t care. I’ve wanted a pair of sunglasses like these since 1987 and I finally got them… 27 years later!
A big thanks to Dr. Mike at Advanced Family Eye Care for helping to make my dreams come true!