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......