Shady Times at Walmart

The second I stepped off the plane back into the Albuquerque summer sunlight, my eyes about jumped out of my head in protest. A year of cloudy Dutch weather had rendered my eyes sensitive to even the most gentle of sunbeams, leaving me with an instant headache as my eyes strained to do something, anything, about the incessant fury of the big bright ball in the sky. So, after a few days of reacclimating to my first home, I did what any other American would do in such a crisis: Go to Walmart. Cue my hunt for a snazzy pair of shades, sending both my boyfriend and my mother selfies for their input on what was to be my sight’s salvation. Before long, I had a pair of sunglasses bedecked with shiny rhinestones and a vine-like pattern on the frame. I left Walmart delighted with my purchase, switching moods just long enough to curse the plastic ring that bound the price tag to the frame, in turn preventing me from throwing them on immediately. My elation continued (sans price tag) for a few weeks until it occurred to me I’d been wearing my contacts when trying on my new shades. Not my glasses. Meaning on days when I went around wearing the more obvious display of my myopic sight, I couldn’t wear my sunglasses. Decisions, decision. Fast forward to November. I had been going nearly half a year deciding which glasses to wear for the day when my car was dealt $4500 worth of damage by an uninsured driver. An unfortunate event, but a blessing in disguise. I accidentally broke my sunglasses when I dropped my phone, car keys, and probably an aux cord on them in the move from my adorable (by comparison) Kia to my mother’s Mustang, my vehicle in the month it took to get my own car back. How is this a blessing, some may ask? Another trip to Walmart, I reply! So that’s what I did, though I didn’t think to wear my glasses this time either. However, keeping them in mind this time, I looked for sunglasses more conscientiously. What I discovered, subsequently, was a pair of stylish shades compatible with both contact lenses and glasses. Not only were they red with a similar rhinestone/vine design to my first pair of sunglasses, but they didn’t make me appear bug-eyed or—Heaven forbid—like a 57-year-old. Images of one of my college professors running around in glasses-compatible sunglasses, more like a pair of goggles, disappeared immediately. Photo confirmation once again from my boyfriend and mother proved the shades were indeed subtle enough to purchase, and I once again walked away from Walmart with a smile on my face (and a couple sneers at the price tag I couldn’t immediately remove). Another series of months went by, and I even found a case for my shades, at least to keep the lenses scratch-free. Sure, they occasionally clacked against my glasses if I ran too hard; fine, they couldn’t fit into their compartment in my refurbished car; and yes, sometimes I looked in the mirror and still wondered if they were too bulky for my face. But I could fit them over my glasses! I’ve even received compliments on my shades from outside my family. (I can’t attest to the sincerity of each compliment, but I’ll give the purveyors the benefit of the doubt.) Turns out it is possible to wear two pairs of glasses at once without sacrificing fashion or dignity.