Why Bother To Blink?

Why Bother To Blink?

Summertime is a gift, the best present of all to public school teachers. During summer break, I linger longer over breakfast, ride my bike instead of commuting by car, leisurely read the books I want and commit to catching up on important things I know I really need to do for myself. One such important and less than pleasant task was to find a personal physician. I have not had one since my last child was born, a few decades ago. Though I have made a few feeble attempts to find one, I knew this would be the summer to cross that off my list.  I appreciate those in the medical world and see their value and worth, but entering into a doctor’s office is not a pleasant experience for me. It is time consuming, expensive, a little impersonal and I worry a little about unexpected anomalies popping up. But after investigating a new physician or two, I settled on one, made an appointment and rode my bike to the nearby office. It was not as bad as I thought. After an hour-long personal and not at all painful conversation, I listened and took her medical advice: take one-a-day vitamins and get your eyes checked, something else I had not done for a few decades.   

Nourishment for the Eyes

For some reason, I was a bit embarrassed by one of the questions the assistant at the eye clinic asked me, “How long has it been since your last eye examination?” I recalled how our middle son had come to the same clinic, when around the age of two, he needed corrective surgery for a lazy eye. Since then, that particular doctor retired. I confessed that for me, the last time my eyes were examined was a blurred and distant memory. 

The assistant ran me through a series of tests determining how well I could read letters up close as well as off in the distance. Pictures of the back of my eyes were taken and when I met the young and well schooled physician he confirmed, with some surprise, that my eyesight was really quite good. When he asked if I have noticed any changes over the last few decades, I shared that sometimes, especially at the end of the day, my eyes feel dry and tired. 

He related that with increased screen time, reading or staring at the T.V. we blink almost 60% less. Blinking, he noted, is like a cocktail of oils that lubricate, cleans and moisturizes our eyes. He suggested that when my eyes become dry and tired that I apply eye drops. I wondered out loud, “Why can’t I just remember to blink more?” 

“You can try that, and if it is helpful, there are apps you can download onto your phone that will help you to remember to take blinking breaks.”

I smiled at this young and educated physician, but kept my last comments to myself, I’d rather not rely on something else to think for me. Instead, I believe I am still more than capable of remembering to take blinking breaks. 

Why bother to blink? If we don’t think to take blinking breaks for ourselves, then someone else will be telling us when to blink. 

Why Bother to Think for Yourself?

Why Bother to Think for Yourself?

     I am ashamed to say that I only know three phone numbers by heart; my husbands, my middle sons and one of my sisters. That is all. The rest of my contacts are stored in my smartphone’s memory and not mine.  When I leave things up to another device, I tend to forget what I used to remember. 

     I grocery shop once a week and write a check each time.  But when I shop with my husband he likes to remind me that all I have to do is sign the check and hand it over to the cashier. Then she feeds it into the machine and the machine fills out the rest. Easy! Except that I don’t listen to my husband nor do I pay attention to the line of people sighing impatiently behind me. Instead, I take out my pen, my checkbook and carefully write in cursive, the amount needed to pay for the goods. 

     I do this because I do not want to forget how to write a check. Also, I like how my brain, pen and hand all work together. Besides, writing out the numbers reminds me how to spell them correctly and I enjoy making the hyphen; two hundred and twenty-six dollars. It is a little thrill since I don’t often write words that need a hyphen.  

     But, I stay away from public restrooms since they make me look stupid. Do I flush the toilet or does it flush automatically? Do I press something to get soap out of the dispenser or do I wave my hand under it? Do I actually turn a knob to run the water or do I wiggle my fingers under the faucet?  And what about the towel dispenser? Do I press down on a lever or just hold my hands under it and wait for it to dispense the paper? I don’t want to look dumb, but sometimes I just don’t know the proper protocol called for in certain situations.  

     Robotic lawn mowers are an interesting phenomenon. One of our neighbors mows their lawn in this fashion. Every time I see the machine, I miss the tradition of waving to my neighbor who used to trek behind their mower on a warm summer’s eve. Where did the human being go?

     When backing out of my driveway, I do not use the screen on my dashboard that shows what is behind me. Rather than looking forward at the screen, I prefer to crane my neck and see what is actually behind me. Is there an animal, person or a robotic lawn mower in my pathway?

     Recently, I’ve had to adjust the settings in my email. Somehow it defaulted to automatically showing me words it thinks I might want to type next. Frankly, I find that upsetting. How does it know what I want to type when I’m still formulating the words in my brain? That’s like putting words into my mouth. I hate it when people do that. Now a non-human contraption is trying to tell me what to think. The nerve!

     Reading a book is one of my favorite pastimes. I like how words look on paper. I like the smell of books. I like turning pages. But I am concerned for those who do not know how to turn a page. They only know how to swipe a screen. They will go through life not knowing what is meant when someone says, “That book is a page turner.” 

     I want to always remember how to write in cursive, flush a toilet, mow my lawn, see what’s behind me, formulate my own thoughts and turn the page of a book. 

      Why bother thinking for yourself? If we don’t, then we won’t remember how to.