Biff America column: Eye to eye with neighbors
Were I to come home to find my wife hunched over a wet and shirtless stranger on the floor of my living room, I would not be understanding; I’m grateful this guy was open-minded since I was the one lying on the floor wet and topless.
I left home that night wearing my lucky shirt. I’ve never been a slave to fashion, but I do own one very expensive Phillip Lim dress shirt that my buddy Skinny Pete gave me after he gained 20 pounds. Peter’s weight gain was actually a healthy lifestyle choice.
Once skinny Pete faced the fact that he would rather be chubby than gaunt, he gifted me a beautiful button down that he had only worn a couple of times. I reserve it for when I’m invited to classy events; I think I have worn it twice.
Fairly Good Eyesight
My eyesight is fairly good for a guy my age. (I know I’m rambling here it, but it will all make sense eventually.) That said, I can’t drive at night without corrective lenses. That night I was going somewhere to emcee a fancy event that would require me to look my best and to see. So rather than sport my eyeglasses that make me look like a combination of Buddy Holly and Ben Franklin, I opted for contact lenses.
The problem is when I wear two contacts, I can see great in the distance but can’t read my watch. I’ve found that if I wear only one contact, it solves that problem and is half the price. My eye doctor says wearing only one contact can make some folks crazy; it doesn’t bother me, though.
All of this is background for how I ended up on the floor of some strange women’s home shirtless and wet.
I was showered, shaved and wearing my one worthy shirt when I headed out the door. I had not made it out of my neighborhood when I had a sensation that someone was stabbing me in the eyeball.
The pain was excruciating. I felt like either my contact had folded or I had a piece of metal under it. I pulled over about 20 yards from my house, abandoning my car and lurched back to my front door. But with one eye feeling like there was glass in it and the other tearing up horribly, I could not tell what was wrong by looking in a mirror.
I was scheduled to be on stage in about an hour, and I knew there was no way I could drive or work the event by Braille. My neighborhood is a combination of full-time residents and short-term rentals. Generally, I’m not a huge fan of the rental or Vacation Rental By Owner homes; the guests often are loud and clog the street with vehicles.
She Sounded Short
My mate was out of town, and all of the neighbors that I knew homes were dark. The one house on my street that had lights on was a rental property.
I knocked, and a lady with a Southern accent answered the door. I told her I lived a few homes down the street and also told her of my predicament. Since my left eye felt like it was getting stabbed and my right one was full of tears, I could not really see what she looked like.
She sounded short.
To compensate for our height differences, I kneeled in her living room while she looked in my eye using her cell phone as a flashlight to no avail. Finally, in a stroke of genius, she had me hold me eyelids back while she took a photo with her phone and enlarged it. Sure enough, my contact had torn in half and part of it was rolled up way under my eyelid.
She had me lay on the floor while she retrieved a measuring cup from the kitchen. She was just about to pour water into my eye when I remember I was wearing my good shirt. I removed my Phillip Lin and lay back down. (I was wearing a T-shirt.)
It was halfway through the second pitcher when her husband came home. It was his idea to put a towel under me. Between the two of them, it seemed to become a fun project. She would pour water from the pitcher while he would look consult the cellphone photo and give instructions. Somewhere in all this, my eye stopped hurting and I assumed the lens floated away.
I made it to the event on time, and the next day I returned to the rental house with a bottle of Breckenridge bourbon as a thank-you gift. The place was empty, and they obviously had returned home to wherever they came from. I had never gotten their names.
Not wanting the whisky to go to waste, I poured myself a small amount and with my improved vision I changed my opinion on second-home rentals.
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Biff’s book “Mind, Body, Soul,” is available at local shops and bookstores or shop.holpublications.com.