Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tortoiseshell Crisis

Remember back in 1965 while filming Dr Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine Annette Funicello announced in the tabloids that her worst nightmare come to life was the day her hair rollers disappeared? I’m sure it was horrible, but then we all have our nightmares.

Sensitivity to strong light is a daily problem for many people, and in my case even the thought of leaving home without sunglasses is enough to bring on a squint. Harsh light along the coast of Florida is often hard on sensitive eyes, and other climates as well no kinder to certain eyes, mine among them. A rainy late afternoon in Seattle would probably see me in sunglasses. And with that dependency, being without is not an option. Sunglasses in my world are not anything I want to leave at home, forget in a restaurant, carelessly break or ever be without.

For so many years I’ve lost count, the same pair of Ralph Lauren Polo sunglasses has been my daily walk out the door and forget-me-not accessory. So long ago, it’s hard now to remember where I bought them, but something makes me think they are from a Tokyo optician in Shibuya named Paris Miki. Can’t recall the price but if it was Tokyo then they were probably expensive. The glasses are Italian made of tiger tortoiseshell, proven strong through multiple lens changes, hard travel and the occasional fall to the floor. For a long time they have been as much a trusted friend as a useful tool.

Too bad that such good things eventually come to an end. My old stand by sunglasses are in their last days and won’t last much longer. They are dying of old age and have a fragility about them that translates as worn out, used up and falling to pieces. A trip to the local optician only proved the case. I took them in hoping they could turn a screw, make an adjustment and tighten up the tired frames, but learned that the old specs are beyond help. No surprise to anyone, Ralph Lauren discontinued this particular style long ago, making a replacement pair near impossible. Tortoiseshell sunglasses in a design not greatly different are still in the Polo line up and that will likely be the solution. Brand wise I'm not married to Ralph Lauren and would be just as happy with Magnavox or Plymouth, but they don’t do tortoiseshell, which is my true eyeglass love.


  1. If you're wearing Spoolies in your hair all sunglasses are going to be butt-ugly. But know what you mean about the fondness for sunglasses once the right pair is found. Since going blind in one eye the darker lenses seemingly close out too much of my vision. Long ago discovered shooter's sunglasses--those with amber lenses that block UV and enough other light. Love them and protect them like crazy.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America