Rose Colored Glasses
My rose colored glasses broke last week. I was talking with a coworker and pressed my hand to my chest to emphasize a centric statement, I don't remember what, and the sunglasses that were hooked into my shirt came apart at the middle and fell to the ground in two separate pieces. I always knew the day would come. Yet it was still unexpected, and anti-climactic
Worst of Times
These glasses got me through the worst of times. At my job, there are many things to make you want to pull your hair out. Although the work is easy, (fueling private jets), the internal politics are surreal and resemble the Dilbert comic cubicle landscape we love to hate. Rules are extremely flexible, and it is easy to find oneself on the wrong side of company policy and not even know it. Before I got near the top of the totem pole, it wasn't unusual to have my manager in my face, accusing me of disobeying company policy when I actually had no idea that it had changed, or even when doing something that I had been told to do.
One particular coworker left "nasty notes" on an almost daily basis for me to find when I came in to work in the morning. I wonder if he knew how discouraging it was to be greeted by such hatred even though I knew he was wrong. It gets to you. One day, I found these rose colored glasses lying on the ramp. After a week, no one had claimed them, and as often is the case, the owner never called for them. Aviation people are a busy bunch, and when flying million dollar aircraft, buying thousands of dollars worth of fuel, a simple set of sunglasses are easily forgotten.
A Changed Outlook
So I put them on, and from that point forward, my outlook on life at work permanently changed. The whole world transformed to an orangy-red cast. My eyes are very sensitive to the sun, and in fact, I prefer cloudy, rainy weather in every sense, but especially for my eyes. Sunlight usually depresses me unless I am on or in the water, or biking on the river trail. Although I didn't think that the red tinted light would appeal to me, it completely did the trick. I suppose it brought color to what appears washed out to me on a sunny day. Almost as good as green grass under an overcast sky, so my new sunglasses brought life back, and cooled down the harsh light coming in to my retinas.
One day I forgot to put them on because it was a busy day and I ran outside to fuel a Cessna Citation jet. It's a small jet, and it's completely white, including the tops of the wings. The sun blasted down from the sky relentlessly and the heat was oppressive. I opened the fuel cap, started fueling and blinked at the reflected glare from the wing. I blinked more and more and finally started turning my face away from the awful light bouncing off the too-white wing. I couldn't take it anymore. Nearly blinded, I set the fuel nozzle carefully down onto the ground, placing the end on the hose to keep dirt out, ran inside and snatched the glasses out of my locker. I didn't care if it took my a few minutes longer to fuel the owner's jet, they would just have to wait. The relief I felt made it much easier to deal with the heat too, and I had no problems fueling after that.
A Deeper Change
But they didn't just cool the colors down for me, they also allowed me to see in a different spectrum of light as clouds became defined, and the colors that shone past them from the sun appeared that I could never have seen without them. In fact, on an apparently cloudless day, I could see clouds hovering in the sky that I couldn't see with my bare eyes. These glasses changed my perspective in a very real and physical sense.
The effect on my nerves was less pronounced to my mind, but had an even more important impact on me. It was like these glasses became a center point or a focus for relaxing and funneling all my thoughts through. I think it was because I could see better and the harshness of light was muted to a pleasant and dim brightness, a disconnect or a wall was built up between the world and me. I no longer needed to take everything personally. I no longer internalized every offense, but felt able to observe the situation separate from my soul. From the first day I put them on, not believing that they would last long on my head, I started to relax and put my concerns and worries on an objective platform.
I think I have had them for 4 years now, and they have served me well all the way to the last day. I don't know if I need them anymore, but I probably do. I was wearing my other pair of glasses yesterday, and I thought they were working out pretty well. I stood before another brilliantly white private jet to marshal them out from their parking position and waited for them to flash their lights to signal they were ready to taxi. As I waited and kept my eyes on the Hawker jet, I could feel a strain creeping up in the back of my head, a little something that tapped me on the shoulder and let me know that some of those harsh rays were coming through, and the colors were still too bland and washed out. I know I am going to have to go online and find a new pair just like the rose colored glasses. I hope they're not expensive, but they probably are. I'll deal with it though, right now I can't afford to move to Oregon or Washington where it rains and it's cloudy even in the summer, I want to finish school first. It's a tough slog, but I can make it. That cloudy weather will still be waiting for me a few years down the road. In the meantime, I'm going to find another pair of Kaenon glasses. Thankfully the name is printed into the top right corner so I know what brand they are and I can order another pair. Feel free to accuse me of wearing rose colored glasses. I do, and because I wear them, I don’t care.