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A PRINCESS AT LAST
May 7, 2004
 
That's it, I said, after the fifth ten-minute search for my eyeglasses in one day yielded them, looking calmly at me from the paper tray of my printer. I'm getting one of those chain things.

I had been resisting providing myself with a chain to attach to the temples of my glasses and hang them around my neck. Old ladies wear them. But the one I found at the drug store has colored beads at intervals along the silver chain. Hmmn. I'll take that one, I said, and forked over five dollars.

At home, I attached the chain and put the glasses on. I couldn't remember exactly how they were supposed to look -- where do you fasten the chain, exactly? I finally settled on the place where the glasses meet the temples. This feels weird, I thought. I don't like this. But when I looked in the mirror, I didn't look like an old lady at all.

I looked like a princess. A princess dowager, maybe, but a princess all the same.

My chain, with its colored beads, swung gently around my face when I moved my head, like an ancient Byzantine headdress. Like the Empress Theodora. Like an empress.

I love my eyeglass chain. I may get some other colors. I got it a couple of weeks ago, and I haven't lost my glasses once. Not once.

Aging is a good thing. It's better, in unexpected ways, than being young. My eyeglass chain is just like the cord to which my mother used to clip my mittens when I was little: you thread it through the sleeves of your coat and across the shoulders, and your mittens are always there, at the end of your arms. Always. You don't lose them. My eyeglass chain is just like that, with one important difference:

My mitten cord never made me look like a princess.
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