When I was a kid I used to go and visit my grandmother in Brantford and she would take me to the public library and we would borrow books in a series that included The City of Gold and Lead.
I don’t remember much about the books but I do remember a character named Beanpole who, what with the books being post-apocalyptic and all, was forced to fashion his own crude eyeglasses.
I recalled Beanpole today as I drove around Burlington, Ontario trying to find someone to repair the arm of my own eyeglasses, an arm that inexplicably went wonky over the weekend. The sad truth I discovered is that eyeglasses, like so much else these days, are now considered a consumable that you simply throw away when they break; my image of finding a master optician who would rummage around in the cellar until he found the materials needed to weld my glasses back to form has been dashed. Like television repair, there is no more eyeglasses repair; it is a dead craft.
Which is how I find myself sitting in the food court of the Mapleview Mall beside a gaggle of Bluetooth-headset-wearing seniors drinking Grandma Lee’s coffee and waiting for the personable staff at Lens Crafters to whip up a brand new pair of eyeglasses for me.
The staff at Lens Crafters were nice enough and all, but they are factory workers, not craftspeople, and they could no more construct a Beanpole-like pair of eyeglasses from scratch than today’s auto mechanics could build their own car.
The DIY silver lining in this story is that when I was stymied by a one-day closure of my eye doctor yesterday and unable to retrieve my prescription, I remembered that last year I’d blogged my prescription, and I simply grabbed it from there. Let those who cast aspersions on my habit of obsessive self-documenting take this as a lesson that, at least once in a Blue Moon, there’s a practical pay-off.