April 23rd, 2008


Holy Shit! Trees Have Leaves!

About a decade and a half ago, they told me that I was slightly farsighted, and over time my eyeballs would probably slowly shift into nearsightedness so I'd match everyone else in the family, passing through a pleasant patch of awesomely perfect vision. Awesomely perfect vision is what I had every time they did the little free screening tests in school -- "Okay, Theresa, read the third line from the bottom." "I can read the bottom line! Want me to read the bottom line?"

Last year, I went to the optometrist for the first time in about a decade, after serious nagging from andres_s_p_b. Not so much with the awesomely perfect anymore. I grumbled about it for a while, but decided not to do anything at that time. Between now and then, my eyes haven't gotten any worse, but volunteering at the school demonstrated that, sitting in the back of a classroom, I couldn't see the board, and that's kind of one of those signs. So after this year's appointment, I went ahead and got glasses. Andres picked them up for me yesterday, although I'll need to go have them adjusted on Friday because they're a bit tight.

There are two pairs; one pair of prescription sunglasses that look pretty much like my existing sunglasses and one pair of not-sunglasses that are tiny and rectangular. Yesterday evening, trying them on in the living room, I was all "Whoa! I can read the titles!" (and Andres gave me a look) "I mean the little ones!" Wandered into the hallway, looked back at the living room: "Rats! You have fur!" Wandered back in, glanced at the bookshelf again: "Hey, there's black on those letters!" ("Yes, there's a drop shadow." "Well I hadn't seen it before!") And there was a lot of flipping glasses up and down for comparison.

I wore the prescription sunglasses biking to the train station today. I can read the street names! From a distance! I can read the informational signage posted on the other side of the tracks! This is very cool! Things that are within arm's reach look the same, and clouds look the same, but everything in between is way different. I switched to the non-prescription sunglasses when I pulled my book out, because there seems to be less strain reading close things without the lenses, and switched back again when I got off the train. There are buildings -- with straight edges! and windows! -- waaaaaaaay far off down the street! And houses on the hills! I knew that, but it's different actually seeing houses and not just white and colored shapes.

The computer screen appears to fall within the arm's-length do-not-use radius, so I probably won't wind up wearing the not-sunglasses very often at all. They are intended for night driving, which is the thing the optometrist thinks I should really use glasses for (it's still legal without; my vision is not that bad), but I don't do much driving. Should be useful for museum-going -- that has fairly long sightlines. Not sure what else has long enough sightlines for the glasses to be useful but doesn't have nasty daystar[1] in it. Watching movies, maybe.

Right! Who wants to go to a museum?

[1] The optometrist kept throwing around words like "photophobic". I am not afraid of the nasty daystar, I just do not like it[2].

[2] This is in fact a lie; I am very fond of the sun, appreciate the good work it does growing plants and so forth, and get deeply cranky if I am deprived of sunlight for too long. But I can't see in California-standard sunlight; there's too much of it. Thus the sunglasses, pretty much whenever I am outside, and sometimes when I'm inside, if I'm right next to a window at the wrong angle (e.g. on the train about a third of the time).
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Two Things Everyone Should Read

Thing One: The Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Project

I am, unfortunately, not actually very good at noticing when potentially-bad things are happening, but when I do notice I try to check up on things. I need a better procedure for dealing with people I'm scared of, though.

Relevant personal history:

1. In college, while I was eating lunch in a food court one day, I saw a man and a woman (presumably a couple) having a loud argument in the middle of the food court. I went up and asked the woman if she needed any help. She said she didn't, so I went and sat back down and they left shortly thereafter.

2. Later in college, I lived in an apartment above some seriously skeevy people. They routinely entered and exited their apartment through a window instead of the door, and often played very loud music from their truck. There were always a lot of young men hanging around; my roommates and I didn't know which of the people lived in the apartment, but we were pretty scared of them all and never confronted them about the music or anything. At graduation, my mother and grandmother were walking back to my apartment with me, and passed one of the young men and his girlfriend having a very similar argument in the hall. They laid into him; I would have preferred to ignore the incident, because he was scary and knew where I lived. (In retrospect the thing to do here would have been to quietly go past them and then call the police, but I didn't get that option.)

3. Shortly after we moved into our last apartment, we heard a very loud argument between a man and a woman several apartments away. We called the manager, and he went over and talked to them.

4. At a party I hosted, somebody said something to somebody else that made the second person uncomfortable. This one I didn't notice happening, and didn't hear about until much later; both somebodies are actually reading this, so... somebody 2, if you would like me to have a talk with somebody 1 and make sure that doesn't happen again, say the word (and give me a few more details about what he said) and I will do that. I wish I'd known about it then so as to nip that sort of thing in the bud.

Generalities from said personal history:

Everybody, if somebody is doing things that make you uncomfortable at something I'm hosting, please tell me! That's information I need! I will put a stop to it! People who will not behave themselves do not belong in my house. (Given the set of people I know, severe cluelessness is more likely than malice, but in that case what we have is a Teachable Moment, not an excuse to continue the behavior. "He doesn't know any better" isn't even a good excuse for a dog.)

Even if I'm not hosting, I have no problem being rude if justified, so if you are being flustered by a lack of good response, you can come hide behind me and I will be rude for you. I can be good backup once I know things are going on, but I do not have particularly good social situational awareness with which to notice things going on.

The things I have noticed have been situations that were loud (therefore attention-getting), and also more potentially dangerous for an intervener than most vaguely-icky situations, because they involved long-term couples, and domestic disputes get nasty.

I am much less scared of confronting people who don't know where I live, even if they are really scary people (as long as there are other people around and the scary people don't appear to have weapons). I trust that if my attempt at intervention went to (threats of) physical assault, the other people would summon help. But if the scary people could easily find me later, I really don't want them to be angry at me.

Thing Two (linked from Thing One, but even if you're not interested in that, go read this): A Modest Proposal about sexual consent

I have nothing else to add to this one.
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