May 25: in the opticians

In the opticians when I was waiting for my eye test I overheard a woman, maybe sixty-five, talking to the man who was taking her information. He said what’s your name? She told him. I didn’t quite hear. Then she said: I have six names. I used to give out different names to all my different friends, but then I forgot which name I’d given to which friend and didn’t know who I was for who. Then I missed a bit of her conversation. When I got back to it she was saying: my face was completely destroyed. What you see is all reconstructed. And then the girl with the clipboard was coming over to me. I was sorry I’d missed bits in the story. I was brought into the booth for my tests. My eyesight is getting better in my left eye and I have very healthy eyes. This I can lay along next to the remarkable lungs I was once told I had by a generous doctor. I again failed one of the tests. This is the peripheral vision test. This is a test I always fail. It takes so long, about a minute, that I lose concentration and find my mind wandering. The same happened last time. They call the optician who comes and inspects my failure which is on a read-out receipt that comes out of the machine. She inspects it seriously while the trainee girl who had delivered the test looks seriously on. It is all very serious. I am not concerned. I know it is only because I stopped concentrating. I’m an old hand at eye-tests. When I get out of the opticians the woman with six identities and the reconstructed face has long gone.

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