on irish jigs and pupil dilation

ah, valentine’s day. i would like to say i spent yesterday in the throes of an all-consuming, passionate affair. i would like to say that. reality, however, is much less kind.

i spent the day in an unseeing fuzz of uncomfortability. what kind of a dork makes an eye exam appointment for 10 am on february 14th? this kind of dork, apparently.

i had been wearing my glasses for the last few days, and though i adore how intellectual and wise they made me look, i knew it was past time to get these peepers checked out. so, I dutifully got dilated and ran into my first problem in short order. i had forgotten my sunglasses at home. yeah, i’m brilliant. the doc had given me some cheapie plastic sunglasses, the kind that are large and square and cover half your face. i put them on in the car when it became apparent that even the soft morning light was too much for my enlarged pupils, but promptly discarded them after one look in the rearview mirror. yikes. i may not be a certified fashionista, but god help me if i willingly allow myself to look like i’m starring in the original terminator movie.

since my appointment was on the west side, i decided to hop skip and jump over to the claddagh irish pub, peter’s place of employment. figuring i could hang out at the bar for a bit until my eyes returned to normal, i headed over. let me tell ya, when your pupils are denied the right to contract, things can get dicey. i barely made it over, and settled myself down for a wait.

now, i’ve had the need for corrective eyewear since the second grade, so i’m no stranger to dilation. but it had been several years, and damn, i’m getting old and forgetful. i had completely forgotten how freaky it is to be unable to focus. i had good mid-range, but far away or up close? forget it. word for the day: blur. not to mention the fact that i looked like a tweaked-out alien with pupils the size of a small island nation. every so often i would ask peter for a “pupil check,” to which he would reply “still freakin’ huge.”

point of fact: it takes more than 1/2 hour for the effects of dilation to wear off. i parked my rump at his bar for a good 4 hours. i understand now why peter is not enamored of the canned “irish” music that constantly plays. after hearing jigs and dirges all afternoon, i was ready to rip the head off the next “irishman” that came my way. i ended up staying until peter was off work and gave him a ride home, sunlight smarting my eyes enough to make my cry out “it burns” and “i’m melting” during the drive.

but before i left, i shamelessly listened in on the phone conversation of a gentleman sitting a few seats away. the air was mixed with equal parts love, cigarette smoke and some fine fiddling. he ordered a pint of guinness and flipped his phone open. upon his greeting of “hi, happy valentine’s day,” i immediately thought how sweet. an absent lover, an upcoming rendezvous, countless possibilities of love love love. then came “how’s your day been, mom?” oops. he proceeded to tell her how he’d gotten his hair cut that day, and how he bought those martini glasses from michael’s, and yes, he’d used the coupon, but they only had three left, and on and on.

i admit it. i was making fun of him. calling his mom on valentine’s day? come on. but later that night while sipping scotch alone in the window of maduro’s, i realized what an ass i had been. for god’s sake, it’s a day of love. and it should be celebrated wherever it’s found and/or given. so sure, mom’s included. and your cat. and your friends. so many stores sell plastic roses and glow-in-the-dark boxers and made-in-china fuzzy handcuffs that we think if we’re not in a relationship on one freakin’ day of the year we’re losers.

it’s all around us, we just have to remember to look for it. so, although it took several slow hours for my pupils to contract, it only look several quick seconds for my heart to expand.

so: love to those who have been generous with their affections. it is much appreciated. i can see you clearly now, and it is a wondrous sight to behold.

ps: any 6’2″ blond norwegian goddesses lookin’ to stalk peter, the claddagh irish pub is located at 1611 aspen commons street in beautiful, bucolic middleton. the clam chowder is delish.

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