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Doggy bag


Diary of a home bird
Ciara Galvin

THE old peepers wouldn’t be the best. I think if I added up both eyes it wouldn’t make 20, never mind 20:20. People always grab my glasses and say, ‘Well how bad are you really?’, before putting them on and proclaiming, ‘Wow, you’re really almost blind’. Thanks for that, you unqualified optometrist.
I remember being distraught in primary school when I got the news. I remember squinting as hard as I could, trying to read the letters while others rhymed them off during those bizarre health checks, as we all stood around awkwardly. The glasses back then were far from stylish, there was no Balmain or Moschino to choose from. Just whatever frame could withhold the weight of my jam-jar lenses.
During secondary school I wasn’t the only four eyes, but being quite blind still wasn’t the ‘in thing’, it would pain me to wear them, and as a sporty teenager some wayward passes and dodgy basketball shots would be blamed on the blurred vision. For some reason contact lenses never seemed like an option; in my eyes (pardon the pun) they seemed like some sort of sorcery only celebs could pull off.
The bad eyesight has got me into some awkward situations, I’ve misread traffic signs and ended up in the back end of nowhere, been accused of being snobby for not waving back at people, and most embarrassingly, waving at people I don’t know.
Once, I misplaced my glasses and had to come to work bleary eyed, squinting at my computer screen for the entire day. After six hours staring at a computer screen I faced into reading these very pages to proofread for some rogue commas or correct some misused ‘there’, ‘they’re’ and ‘theirs’. I had to resort to accessing a magnifying app on my phone. I thought, ‘If Granda Galvin could see me now’. He was a firm fan of the magnifying glass as he sifted through his extensive newspaper clippings collection.
The app did the job, but I still fear that the following day’s edition had maybe some mistakes that I failed to spot. (Perhaps a ‘Pubic meeting in Claremorris’, but I’m still maintaining my innocence on that one.)
Even with the advent of contact lenses I still have slip-ups from time to time. Occasionally, I still don’t wave back to people (maybe I am just snobby?) and still wave to randomers (maybe I just want to make new friends).
But recently I outdid myself. On an incredibly sunny day in Galway and on the hunt for some ice cream, we hit off for Salthill. Driving towards a dark lump in the middle of the road, I said to the pilot, “That’s random, a schoolbag in the middle of the road.” The pilot’s peepers were a good deal better than mine, and I was informed it was actually a dog, having a little rest for himself.
It’s both hilarious and frightening, considering I just got my eyes checked last month.
The proverbial extracting of the urine ensued as my compadre pointed out all the people on The Prom bringing their ‘schoolbags’ for a walk in the glorious sunshine.

> In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.