The Bent Frame

Not even clear how it happened, but my glasses frames got bent. They are very light frames, so the damage was total. No way they could be worn. While my distance vision is fine, my near vision needs to be corrected with glasses. To make matters just a bit more tense, on Monday I’m leaving on a business trip to teach, so I need to see clearly.

These aren't my glasses. Mine look a lot worse. But you can get the idea.

These aren’t my glasses. Mine look a lot worse. But you can get the idea.

My first impulse was to grab a pair of pliers and bend the glasses back into shape. But I don’t have jeweler’s tools anymore.

My second realization was that the place I bought the glasses is closed on Sunday.

My third thought was . . . to think of a simple solution, one not connected to panic. That was not quite as easy, because the impulse was to use my fingers to straighten the glasses. The frames are so light. But I know about metal fatigue–and that overeager “fixing” can cause more damage than leaving it alone. I’ve done a lot of home repairs that way–first I “saved money by doing the job myself,” and then I paid a lot more to a professional to fix what I made worse and then do the repair correctly.

These aren't mine, either, but they don't look much worse than mine.

These aren’t mine, either, but they don’t look much worse than mine.

After all that, the answer is pretty simple–I take the glasses to a shop in the mall tomorrow and have them fix it with professional tools. It meant no reading tonight. That was a big departure.

What I found interesting was the problem-solving process. It followed so many other problem-solving steps: first, astonishment at how the damage got so serious. Second, disbelief and anger. Even a flash of “why does this kind of thing have to happen to me when I am about to teach at an important out-of-town client?”  This was starting to look like a personality test more than a decision what to do with broken glasses.

Finally, a solution based on mistakes made in the past. Don’t try things without the tools you need if you don’t have the time or replacement pieces yourself. Leave the delicate work to the people with trained, specialized small-muscle control.

It’s how I approach creative problems, too. First a bit of panic, anger, and crankiness that I ruined a piece. Maybe a flash of inner critic telling me that other artists don’t make these mistakes. Then the recognition that I have the tools and the ability, but I have to use past mistakes to make the current piece I’m working on come to a satisfying conclusion.

That means admitting to past mistakes, figuring out what worked well and what did not, and repeat the thinking that brings out a simple, elegant solution. A creative lesson in a pair of bent glasses frames. Not such a bad price to pay.

-Quinn McDonald is glad she learned touch-typing at an early age, as she can’t see what she’s typing.


9 thoughts on “The Bent Frame

  1. I feels fer ya, similar thing went on here yesterday.Hubby turned the tv on and there’s no sound. I admitted to dusting in the area of the tv and remote and he says “of all days why did you have to dust just now!” lol….geeze, as if there’s a better day to dust. But he wanted to relax with the game tonight and we’re going out of town tomorrow. I think i saved the day when i suggested instead of waiting till we get back that he call the teckkie now because he might take a few days to get here. Sure enough he won’t be able to come over until the day after we get back….yayyy for me or he’d be waiting longer.

  2. I always keep my previous pair of glasses, if possible. I also keep a pair of ‘readers’ that I buy at the drug store. That way, even if not perfect to my prescription, I always have something with which to ‘make do’ until I can fix/replace my regulars. I find that I get really frustrated when trying to function without my glasses. I need them for both near and far these days. I even splurged on a pair of prescription sunglasses the last time I needed to get new glasses. Of course they felt fine when I tried them on at the eye doctor’s. However, when I got them back with my prescription lenses in them, they were quite heavy!

    • Ahhh, I do have prescription sunglasses, which are my fallback. My previous prescription is, of course, useless, once I got the lens implants. But a pair of drugstore readers would help do the trick, too. Thanks for the suggestion!

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