When Umer, my dour, contrite ocular surgeon (is that a real word?), reached that part of the application, he did not find it funny. At all. As hard as I tried not to squirm while he described this ungodly surgery, I would have had better luck sitting through a live birth. I suppose not fainting into Umer’s flabby arms like Scarlett O’Hara is a victory in itself – however small. Call me weak but the thought of Umer making a delicate filet out of my cornea is the 3rd most terrifying situation I can imagine. Number two is birds gaining humanlike intelligence; number one being my dreams of sentient, upright elephants chasing me around my childhood home to tickle me becoming a reality. I wish I was making that up.
Lasik consultations are a tedious affair, three ponderous hours of waiting, marked by intermittent and brief examinations stations and interviews where the interviewers asked, three separate times in different variations: “You don’t actually drive without your contacts, do you?” I lied and said I would never consider it although my Ginsu‘d front tire and dragging exhaust system betray me.
I hate contacts. The whole notion of placing a flexible magnifying glass over the most sensitive part of my body makes me uneasy. I can’t even touch my bare eyes or drop Visine into them without experiencing a low-grade panic. I spend more time working up the courage to touch my eyeball each morning than I do in the shower. If I’m taking shots of Jack Daniels at 7:42 a.m. just to work up the gumption to put in soft contact lenses, Lasik is probably a good idea.
Or so I thought. My eyes – and much else depending on whom you ask – are like a defective beta version of an already shitty phone. My pupils are huge and my eye itself is shaped like a rugby ball. Because of that, Umer said, Lasik is out. I was, however, a candidate for a more painful, drawn out and, best of all, expensive surgery called PRK. The way I understand it, is that instead of slicing open my corneal flap and Star Trekking the interior into usefulness, the laser would fry away the tissue itself.
Once I heard this, I knew I would rather sit through an entire Desperate Housewives marathon than undergo the procedure but I was locked in to Umer’s pitch. It’s like going to a used car lot and realizing within moments you will not be buying a damn thing from the Gil Gunderson that crept up behind you, clipboard in hand. But because you don’t want to be rude, you ignore the poor sap while you make shopping lists and set your fantasy football lineup while he prattles on about the mileage and horsepower and leather interior of the used Le Baron you made eye contact with.
I walked out of my appointment disappointed; resigned to a life with eyes that have decided performing their only expressed function is too much work. I decided that if I’m going to go blind it won’t be in ophthalmologist chair, it’ll be from type one diabetes or a decrepit sink in a toxic hostel.