Connor O’Donoghue, Hipster Fish

Like most days where I go to college and not to actual paid employment, today started at an unnamed random mid-morning hour with much faffing. I do love to faff in the morning. I eventually made it into college in time to do 30 minutes of transcribing before it was time to go for lunch. I went for lunch and then had a mission to complete.

New glasses.

Since I gave up smoking, I have discovered that I have hay fever. My contact lenses are just unwearable. The pollen turns them into fogged-up-sandpaper-for-my-corneas. And I love my contact lenses. They’re all-day-all-night lenses that I only take out to change once a month. I love freedom from glasses.

The inspiration for finally getting contacts came one Saturday morning in 2007. I woke up hungover. And, as frequently happened in the mornings, I couldn’t find my glasses. My eyesight is very poor and something as transparent as glasses is impossible to see when I’m not wearing glasses. In other words, I could only see glasses when wearing my glasses. I couldn’t see them anywhere, so I went to the kitchen and got two large drinking glasses. I put these tumblers to my eyes, like binoculars, and I could see a bit better. I stumbled around looking for my glasses. Unfortunately, my hangover meant that I didn’t have full control over my limbs and I let one of the drinking glasses slip to the floor. It smashed. I was just out of bed, so I wasn’t wearing any shoes or socks. I could have ripped my feet to shreds on broken glass. I didn’t. And I eventually found my glasses down the side of the sofa.

In response to this situation, I’m sure some people would consider the role of alcohol in their lives. I didn’t. My response was to get contact lenses.

In one of the worse periods of self-inflicted poverty recorded in this blog, I had to go about six weeks without my contacts, but other than that, I’ve barely worn glasses at all.

And my glasses are awful. I bought them in 2004 in Poland. I still remember the Polish optician laughing at my hesitant Polish, and being absolutely amazed that someone from Ireland (where the streets were, at the time, paved with gold) was living in Zaspa by choice. Anyway, in the last eight years this pair of glasses has had a bad time of it. I’ve sat on them at least three times. I can’t count the number of times they’ve ended up under my bed and had to send friends or family members to find them (as I’ve specified, I can’t see them if I’m not wearing them). They’re extraordinarily uncomfortable.  And they have accumulated a greenish gunk behind the nosepads that (try as I might) I can’t get rid of.

Part of my plan to Gok myself was to get new glasses. My hay fever had forced me into my current vile pair. So today was the day to buy my new glasses.

My new glasses are amazing. I got two pairs. They’re undeniably hipster. They’re both designer. Me, in designer glasses. I’ve come a long way from Whitethorn Drive.

One pair is FCUK. They’re standard issue black-rimmed glasses that give my moonface oodles of definition.

The other pair make my heart sing. They’re so cool. They make me look like one of the Mad Men. Only more fun. I’m collecting them tomorrow and I’m going to gel my hair for the first time in fifteen years in honour of the occasion.

I was so happy with my purchases that I went into a bit of a retail frenzy. I bought a blue watch (to add to my green one, my black one, my orange one, my yellow one and my purple one). I also bought a white One Direction bracelet, to alleviate the boredom of always wearing the black One Direction bracelet. And I got a spare black one and a spare white one just in case they fall apart. I also bought a set of little coloured plastic balls to jazz up my nipple piercing, which has been boring old stainless steel for the last seven years. I almost bought a pair of shorts, a jacket and a t-shirt too. But I didn’t.

It was a wonderful afternoon. I’m worth decorating. And life is worth colouring in.

I finished the day by going swimming for the third time this week. I’m growing to love the grimy and sleazy Markievicz Leisure Centre swimming pool, with its tiny and functional sauna, its filthy changing rooms and its clientele of the poor and the foreign. I still haven’t managed to work up the courage to swim without a float, but I did it before and I’ll do it again. Going to the swimming pool relaxes me, helps me to accept my body and leaves me feeling happy.

Remind me of that the next time I decide not to bother going.

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2 Responses to Connor O’Donoghue, Hipster Fish

  1. Rachael says:

    Firstly, yay new frames!I can completely relate to the progression to glasses –> contacts –> glasses. I turned to contacts in 2010 because I wanted my developing skills in makeup to be easier noticed (oh, vanity!). I had fun for about 10 months and haven't really been arsed to do much with them. My vanity waning, I went to 90% glasses (still the old frames) but on my last visit to Cork I took the contacts and had them in one evening when the left eye contact ripped in half (in my eyeball!) on my way to Clonakilty for an evening at de Barra's. Put a real rain cloud on my John Spillane experience (but not really; just some discomfort and bruising of the ego). I've kind of sworn off contacts since and am hoping to invest in some new frames (or lenses at the very least) relatively soon-ish.Secondly, have you been to the Leisure Center in Carrigaline? I wouldn't call it sleazy per say, but the Roman/Greek statues in the pool area do give it a certain cheese factor.

  2. Contacts are risky, but I haven't sworn off them! I'll wear my glasses non-stop for a few weeks because if you have a new toy you can't not play with it. I'll put the contacts back on then and re-assess the many "looks" that I now have at my disposal. On the second question, although I passed through Carrigaline every day for 12 years, you could count the number of times I stopped there on one foot. Cheesiness of that level sounds worth the trip though.

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