Monday 20 October, 2008
Lo and behold! The glasses are still there. Somehow for several months now they’ve avoided street sweepers, avoided being picked up by curious pedestrians, and in the main avoided being trampled by the passing traffic. They’ve endured two seasons of storms, winds and inclement weather and the torrents of water which have inevitably flowed over the tarmac hardly seemed to dislodge them from the spot where they first came to rest.
The glasses were again victim to one or more mysterious events of tomfoolery. Having been bombarded by countless pieces of tyre rubber, road debris and litter – which are always strewn around the place – I was hardly surprised they were now starting to show real signs of deterioration. It also appeared they’d been clipped by the odd vehicle meandering off its line. Vehicles were the glasses’ true nemeses.
There’s a sense of resilience in something so fragile as a lost pair of glasses. Many of us depend on glasses for our livelihood. We care for and protect our glasses with such meticulousness: heaven forbid they might be sat on, trod on or dropped; the world might virtually come to an end the day the lenses get their first scratch.
To observe such a personal belonging exposed to the elements and lost for several months at a busy city intersection got me thinking. Time and history will continue regardless of whether I intervened by picking up those glasses or not. Yes, they’re only a pair of glasses on the highway, but in many ways they’re a symbol of people. We can be resilient like that lost pair of glasses. We can stand up to the barrage of whatever the world may throw at us but if we ignore the matter of replenishing ourselves – giving ourselves a clean and polish and folding ourselves up into a safe compartment every once in a while – like the glasses, we too will show accelerated signs of being worn down. We all need a nice home, a place to call our own.
Along with replenishing ourselves we need to keep moving too. Idleness can be scornful and unproductive for us as individuals, as it can for our higgledy-piggledy world as a whole. Sometimes life can pass people by, as was happening for those forgotten glasses. They may be an inanimate object but the effects of all the movement around them seemed to exaggerate the stillness of their slowly declining existence.
In their appearance now, the glasses looked kind of sad. The questions they may have been asking seemed to go unanswered. They were definitely beyond the optometrist. I crossed Parramatta Road and continued about my business as usual.