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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Is Blindness Contagious?

I was blinded with fury yesterday. At the eyeglass story to pick up my new reading glasses, I put them on and sort of felt a weird sensation. Were these a bit strong for reading?

It was 7pm and I’d been up since 5am. My eyes are cached by then anyway. I said, “Sure…” and took them home. Then I made a little test: three pairs of glasses; which didn’t freak my eyes out reading? Answer: not the new ones, brother-mutha….

They’d cut the lenses for long distance, not reading.

Now, normally I’d go back to the store, let them know, and problem solved. But this is the Czech Republic, were cheating and the “double-cross” are ingrained from birth. I used to think it came from their Communist past. Then I realized the gestation was longer, and looked to 300 years of Hapsburg rule. The Czech’s have a saying: “If you’re not stealing from someone, you’re stealing from your family.”

I can be so critical because this has happened to me before. It’s happened at an eye clinic, too.

So I put on my Chicago Bear scowl and took the metro to Chodov, and smiled nicely when I got into the store. I explained the problem, they looked at the ticket, the order form, etc. “We’re so sorry! We obviously made a mistake.” And their restitution was to offer me 50% discount on the readers, and keep the new distance pair. What could I do but accept?

Moral of the story? Worry and bitch and moan, then learn that people can still surprise you.


What Beauty is my newest novel, a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

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