Day 145: You Can Call me "Patches"

So, as I hope this picture shows, I wore an eye patch on Day 145. IN PUBLIC.

This was a purely petrifying challenge. I had actually bought this little gadget a while back, but couldn't bring myself to put it on. Then I let it sit around in my car for a couple of weeks. Then I decided, "This whole project is to break me out of my comfort zone, right? Well, this is a damn good way to do it!"

So I bit the bullet.

But not at first.

I had planned to do this at the Kroger by my office, but after examining myself in the mirror, laughingly embarrassed of my own reflection, I put it down and went into the grocery store sans eye patch.


I have no excuses for this. I've had a hard enough time fitting New Things into my schedule, and this one was perfectly do-able. And I let it pass.

So, with determination and willpower, I decided I'd find a reason to go to Kroger by my apartment and wear the damn thing. After yoga yesterday, I put on the eye patch, hyped myself up in my car, put on my straight face and walked into Kroger to buy some veggies for a salad for dinner.

I had intended to look like I had myself together, that I was just a normal human being with an exceptionally bad eye infection, and see what people's reactions were to me.

There are a couple reasons this wasn't a good idea. For one, I can't see ANYTHING through either of my eyes independently, making me a bumbling mess. Knock over some tomatoes here, bump into some cases of beer...not pretty. While I wanted to break out of my comfort zone, I most certainly didn't want to draw a ton of attention to myself and be as memorable as "that girl with the eye patch knocking over everything in sight."

Another reason this turned out not to be a good idea, was that I couldn't even see most of the people's reactions to me! These eyeballs were meant to work together, behind glasses. I think I caught some sideways glances, and I'm pretty sure I heard a kid ask his mom what was wrong with my eye, but other than that, I didn't get the impression people thought I was a freak. They more just didn't want to look at me at all, aware that I was probably insecure about the whole thing.

I was going to just pass through and use the self-checkout, but I decided a little forced human interaction would be a good thing for the blog, so I went into a real line.

Things really only got better from here. After breaking the ice with completely non-eye-patch related talk to the cashier, he and I were laughing about being carded...and a little old man behind me reminded me that he, too, got carded at Kroger. No mention of the eye patch, which is a good thing (I didn't have an excuse for what it was for), and no awkwardness after the chat.

I wish I had more to report--a genuine stare that made me uncomfortable, or a situation that made me know what it was like to have a real handicap, but for the most part, people were no different than they always are. With a simple conversation and a smile, you can break down a lot of barriers.

Really, my experience wasn't all that bad. I got over an initial embarrassment to do this, learned a thing or two about picking out produce with one eye, and learned that I'm suddenly in more desperate need of my spectacles than ever.

But I'll probably never do this again.

Anyone need an eye patch??

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