The Eyes Have It

January 11, 2007 – 10:45 pm

About two weeks ago, my uncle Zom got a little carried away with some repairs in the cabin and drove the family fishing boat (“Foam”) onto some rocks. Getting it off damaged the propeller and keel, so ten days ago he and I took advantage of the time, tide, and weather to put it up on the sticks and effect some repairs.

For the next two days (during low-tide only, when the boat was out of the water) he bogged the keel with fibreglass while I painted. It was fun! I painted the bum of the boat all by myself, scraping off barnacles and working on the thick viscous antifouling paint. I did one side each day, the first with roller (rollers make it much easier) and the second without (because we only had one roller and it was well trashed by this stage).

But one thing I’d not thought through was that where there’s fibreglass being applied, there’s also fibreglass being sanded off. The first I was aware of this was when a shower of white particulate crap blew around me. Some of it must have gotten into my contact lenses because I had to take them out when I got home that evening. My right eye was really sore, it felt like there was a rough patch on it and every time I blinked or rolled my eye, the rough patch scraped and ground against the rest of the eye.

By Friday it became clear that it wasn’t magically going to get better, so on Monday I visited our local GP, Elspeth. Elspeth is Scottish and a hard case. “Soo Nathan, hurt yer eye have ye?” “Yes, fibreglass.” “Ooo dear. Let’s have a lewk at it shall we? I’ll just drap some of this in it, turn your eyelid inside out–nice trick isn’t it?–and ah yes, you do have scratches on your cornea but there’s no fibreglass left that I can see. There’s a lot of light out here, let’s take a peek at it in the dark room shall we? I call it a dark room but it’s really just the cupboard. Yes, lean against the stationery shelf, that’s fine. Ah yes, definitely scratches. Well, we’ll put some cream in it and patch it for a few days.” “Can I turn my eyelid right side out now?” “If ye must, dear.”

So I left with an eyepatch. But not the kind of eyepatch that gets admiring looks from amply-proportioned female passers-by. No, the nurse packed the patch with cotton balls so it looks like I’m a frog that’s just been squeezed (technical term: exophthalmic) and then, because injury without insult is just wrong, she drew a cartoon girly pink eye on the outside in biro. So instead of people thinking “oooh, what a grizzled war veteran, I bet his dong could bring down the Hubble Space Telescope” as I walk down the street, I got “pffft”. Story of my life.

The eyepatch, of course, makes me monocular. So far I’ve stood up inside the fridge, failed completely to put away frypans on the hanging kitchen rack, and was comically beaned by a set of keys that my wife threw to me and I was unable to triangulate on. No wonder pirates are funny. All I need is a pegleg and twin appetites for rum and sodomy, and I’d be set!

I should be back in binocular mode in time for my trip to Sydney for next week. Until then I’m in squinty bouncing-off-things-mode. Whee!

Anyway, lesson learned. Next time work downwind from Zom. And harden up before I visit Elspeth again.

You must be logged in to post a comment.