Pick-up contacts at Pearl

That was it. Looking back, it seems like that’s all it ever is. Three pregnancies, each with increasingly dry eyes, thus rapidly ripped contacts. Panicked trips to the shop, “Can you provide me with a test pair while we wait for the order to arrive?” followed by test contacts, and then repeated messages at the house, “Ahh, Amanda? Your contacts are here, in fact they’ve been in for weeks. I hope you aren’t still wearing those testers…”

It’s embarrassing, so this time I swore I’d order them and pick them up quickly. Thing is, they never called, no reminders, other than my spidery red lines, ravaged left eyeball. Damnit.

I told Sean I was going to get them, I repeated the reminder, “Pick up contacts,” with maddening frequency, wrote notes and planned a morning around the pick-up. I plotted how I would go about getting myself to that appropriate side of town at the right time without wasting too much time. I have an event the first weekend in February and I have been scouting decorations. I figured I could hit Target and scan the party section, pick up diapers, wipes and soap and then buzz across the street to the place I ordered my contacts.

I made it to Target, grabbed a basket and stood still as a statue at the entrance:

Why am I here?

It took about 90 seconds before the words “decorations” and “diapers” popped into my head.

“Phew, ok, let’s do it.”

I walked toward the diapers and was sidetracked by a display of boots. The girls need winter shoes and my luck will eventually give out and the real Adirondack winter will hit. I walked up and down the aisle fingering the different booties and galoshes.

“Is Briar an 8 or a 9?”

Again, I went absolutely still as I fought to let my brain have complete use of the resources at hand. No dice. I couldn’t remember.

“Well, Avery is a 6.5.” Then I remembered that Sean said the black shoes I bought her three weeks ago no longer fit.

“Damnit. Never mind.” I took a few steps.

“Why am I here?” Three more steps took me to the the diaper aisle and it occurred to me that we were out. I grabbed diapers and continued down the aisle.

“Pick-up your contacts,” I said to myself, noting the shop wouldn’t open for another 30 minutes. I walked past the books, stopping to get a few for the air travel we have coming up and then moved past electronics.

“Oooh, batteries. I’ll get the fire remote a new battery.” I scanned the display and accepted that I was unsure about the size and didn’t want to bring home yet another, “Not quite right” battery.

I rounded the corner, 2/3 of the way through the store.

“What am I looking for?” I looked around at the bike pumps, the dorm room stocking display and the pot holders. Nothing was calling to me. I stood there, stumped, until a woman grazed my side with a barely muted “You’re in the way.” Her cart was filled with tinsel and holiday inflatables.

“Decorations!” She turned and glared at me, the smiling carolers on her bedazzled sweater a striking contrast to her glower.

“Bitch,” it was a thought, maybe hers, maybe mine.

I trolled the decoration aisle and found nothing so I made my way to the check out. I was distracted by a rack of dresses, the wails of Briar from the night before about a too small dress that she didn’t want Avery to have.

“It’s too small for you.”

“But it’s miiiiiiiiiiiiiine!”

“Ok, but honey, it doesn’t fit you anymore.”

“But it’s miiiiiine, not A-reeeeeeee’s!”

I picked out a dress for Briar and some shirts for Avery and took my basket to the check out. I looked longingly at the Starbucks counter, but let prudence rule as my morning cup at home had been sinfully strong. I inhaled deeply on my way out and enjoyed the mild buzz I could taste in the air.

The parking lot was treacherous and I put all my attention into not slipping. Once in the car I put my hands on the steering wheel, took a deep breath and said, “Contacts.” I started the car, smiling as the seat warmer kicked in, and made my way out of the labrinthine parking lot. The traffic was insane and it seemed that the four radio stations we have programmed were all playing either the Natalie Cole and James Taylor rendition of Baby It’s Cold Outside or that tearjerker song about the shoes. I flipped the switch and turned on my blinker.

I waited for a break in traffic and when it came hit the gas. Too much traffic and too much slush makes for dangerous conditions so I hugged the inside lane. About 2 miles later and four blocks from home I looked up and something caught my eye in the rearview mirror.

It was my left eye. My bloodshot, scary looking, new contact needing left eye.

“You’re kidding!”

It was too late to turn back, no chance for a turn around until the street to our house.

“Seriously? I mean seriously, Amanda?”

So here I sit, 36 hours later, the shop is closed, my eye is raging and I know I’ll forget to go tomorrow.