My specs had a tragic accident today. After Sven helped me out at school with a superglue temporary fix, I went to the specs store to get new ones. We get Stick’s contact lens solution at a little glasses shop by our apartment, so I knew where to go, but I hadn’t really looked at potential frames. The prices ran from 98RMB up to over 3000, and the appearance went from hilariously awful to fashion model good, without much correllation between price and appearance.

There were no other customers on a Thursday afternoon, so the staff had a lot of time to help deal with my not-so-great Mandarin. I’m amazed by my Chinese skills, I successfully used the words for eyeglasses and break, with my new friend the past tense le, but mostly I’m guilty of excessive use of you, mei you and jige.

The best part was when the, uh, lens grinding guy (what do you call that job?) came over and asked me if I can see without my glasses. I told him I can’t see anything at all, and he told me that must be why the frames I picked are so big and ugly and I should try these ones instead! Oh, Chinese honesty. I told him I didn’t like the ones he picked either, since they were so loud, they’d clash with my face, and we argued for a while before agreeing on a third set of frames.

My new frames and new lenses came to just under $40, and they really could do it in under an hour, which is something LensCrafters has never managed to do for me. I have a strong prescription, and this is the first time I’ve gotten same-day glasses since I was a kid. This is also the first time the optician hasn’t commented that I have really bad sight for someone so young. Then again, maybe he did and I just didn’t understand him.

I had to call Stick to come down and bring me some cash though, because I’d forgotten to bring any. Fortunately the store is about a block down from our house, so he was there before my glasses were finished.

I guess I forgot to bring money because on the way down, I was a little fixated on remembering my Chinese vocab and worrying about my broken glasses. And, I was bit focused on the fact that the word for glasses and the word for cheap beer are disturbingly similiar. Yanjing means both eyeglasses and a local brewery that produces a beer that’s literally cheaper than water.

I wonder if there’s a separate word for beer goggles.

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0 Responses to Yanjing

  1. ??? says:

    wot’s a beer goggle?

  2. Meg says:

    Beer goggles refer to the magic ability of alcohol to change one’s perception, making all members of the opposite sex attractive. 🙂

  3. ?? says:

    Hell yeah…uh, wait a minute….

  4. Anonymous says:

    If you don’t mind, how many diopters is your eyesight?

  5. Meg says:

    My last prescription is just over 900.

  6. Stick says:

    The guy who makes your glasses is an “optician.” An optician only makes the glasses, he doesn’t perform the eye exam. The exam guy is an “optometrist” or an “ophthalmologist.” An optometrist can do eye exams and prescribe glasses, but is a health care professional–not a medical doctor. An ophthalmologist is a practicing doctor of ophthalmology.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What do you mean “900”? My prescription is minus 2. Do you mean yours is minus 9? What about laser correction? They claim that it’s absolutely safe.

  8. Gabby Girl says:

    I’m pretty much blind without my contacts or glasses.

    And yeah, the Chinese can be all sorts of honest sometimes. I had this one Chinese friend of mine take one look at a photograph I was giving her, and she said, “You look heavy.” I didn’t know what to say back to her, so I just smiled and nodded.

  9. Yuyu Qi says:

    I am curious y u know beer brand so well. Are u alcoholic?

  10. Meg Stivison says:

    Could be that work is driving me to drink! But I think the person who pours vodka on other people or drinks and passes out is the office alcoholic!!

  11. Meg says:

    I don’t really care about wearing glasses, I’ve had them for almost 25 years now so not having glasses would be a bit like not having hair.

    I never got around to getting contacts, and I’d never get laser surgery. Even if it were 100% safe, painless and cheap, I just don’t think I’d bother. I’m pretty enough with glasses!

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