Tuesday 11 August 2009

the future's so bright....

As I went out running this evening, I found myself squinting into the evening sun as I dragged my limbs, still aching from Sunday's 9 miler, around the Embankment. Why had I decided to run without my sunglasses on? I love wearing sunglasses and I almost never go running without them. I even have a pair that I use especially for exercise. It might have gone past seven by the time I set out, but it's not winter here just yet and there's still good daylight to be had long into the evening. What was I thinking? I almost never go anywhere without sunglasses. I'm very attached to my sunglasses.

I think there are two likely reasons for this attachment. The first is that, for thirty years of my life anyway, I wore glasses. I didn't get my first pair of prescription sunglasses until I was in my late teens. If you've ever seen the prescription sunglasses on offer as the "free pair" when you buy a pair of specs, you'll know that the choices are extremely limited and the styles generally unflattering. I began to wear contact lenses with greater regularity from my mid-20s onwards, and it wasn't long before I bought myself my first pair of proper sunglasses - a pair of Oakleys from a shop in Padstow. In fact, the very same pair that I still wear when I'm out running. I was thrilled with them and wore them almost as often as I wore my contact lenses. I've been wearing sunglasses like that ever since, even more so since I had my eyes done last year. It might be old hat to all you people lucky enough to have perfect eyesight, but the thrill of having a proper pair of (relatively) stylish frames with excellent lenses was like a revelation to me. It's a thrill that's never really worn off, and even though I no longer need to wear glasses or contact lenses, it's still the freedom to wear sunglasses when I want (along with the ability to see my watch on the bedside table) that gives me the biggest kick.

The second reason? I like the feeling that people can't see my eyes. Perhaps this is another fallout of wearing glasses for so long, or perhaps just because I'm a bit shy, but I like to hide behind my sunglasses: pretty much every pair that I own are big wraparounds with pitch black lenses. I can see out, but you definitely can't see in. Part of the reason I like to wear sunglasses when I'm running is that I want to keep the pain on the inside. I don't want anyone to see my eyes lolling about in my head as I drag my sorry body around the place, and somehow I think that sunglasses make the whole process look effortless. It's a bluff, but it's a bluff that somehow makes me feel better about myself and perhaps makes me run harder. A double-bluff, perhaps. Even if the only person I'm fooling is myself, then it's still worthwhile.

I might risk looking a bit of a prat walking around on a mildly overcast day, but I not sure I care. Lest you think I'm a complete moron who wears his sunglasses ALL THE TIME, I should add that I do have limits: the sun has to at least have the potential to show it's face, otherwise the sunglasses will stay at home. Even when the sun is shining, I will always take them off when I'm indoors and usually when I'm talking to someone. I'm not one of those people. At least I like to think I'm not.... maybe I am? I don't wear sunglasses to look cool, I wear them because it's still the thrill for me that I can wear the sunglasses that I want when I want to wear them. They make me feel free. It's a small freedom, I know, but I hope I'll never get bored of it.

Regular readers here will not, I'm sure, be surprised to hear that I like to spend my time fretting about possibly invisible scratches on the lenses......


  1. No use to you now, of course, but I've had prescription lenses in my Oakleys for years now...

  2. yeah - and that's what I would have done, I guess. As I'm sure you know though, back in the day, that kind of thing wasn't really an option.

  3. I also love wearing my sunglasses and "hiding" behind them. Which is possibly a bit odd, given that I absolutely hate wearing my actual glasses.