The man waved and bid me "hello" from 15 feet away. Even though I returned his greeting warmly, I feigned my recognition for a moment. He must have seen the slightly lost look on my face.

I realized who he was just before we shook hands, just before he re-introduced himself. Of course I knew him, a former city councilor in Clatsop County I had interviewed repeatedly and seen in innumerable meetings. He had been among my key contacts.

What he didn't realize was that my failure to recognize him right off the bat might have been altered by contacts - contact lenses, that is.

The encounter was not another reminder of my forgetfulness, but instead of my ridiculous tendency to not wear my eyeglasses.

Why can't I see my problem?

How it all began is a bit of a blur to me. I have owned glasses for years, and I have no issue with the way they make people look, let alone see. Sometimes they even lend a certain aesthetic appeal to the character of a face, hinting at qualities of intelligence and bookishness - admirable traits, in my book. Believe it or not, I find that women who wear glasses, at least from time to time, carry an extra edge of attractiveness.

I catch a glimpse of my reasons for my inconsistency in wearing my own glasses whenever I reflect on how I appear in the mirror. A friend used to tease me about this rumination by humming a refrain from that old Carly Simon tune: "You probably think this song is about you" - in other words, "You're So Vain." But is all this vanity complete insanity?

Yes, some people who wear glasses look smooth and cool - smooth and cool as glass. But when it comes to me, I don't know if I look too slick.

It's too bad there aren't classes about wearing glasses. Instead, we all have to learn for ourselves what works best.

When I first got glasses to better see the scribbles of instructors on chalkboards in college, my prescription was mild. Back then, and in subsequent years during periodic eye exams, I've been told I do not need to wear them at all times.

Furthermore, much as I would like to say I have far-reaching powers of observation, I am near-sighted. Maybe I should say short-sighted. My dependence on glasses has grown - I no longer feel eye strain when I continue to wear my glasses as I read or look at things up close - but I have not yet relinquished my long-time habit of storing my glasses in my shirt pocket.

I should put them in a case or on my head, instead. Maybe I should use one of those distinguished-looking neck chains. But habits die hard. Every time I lean over to pick up something I've dropped (which for a person as clumsy as yours truly happens repeatedly every day), or tie my shoe, or stop to look at a bug, my glasses fly out of my pocket and inevitably hit the floor with a disconcertingly loud "CRACK."

Why haven't they utterly snapped, like me? Fortunately, my glasses are bionic. They are made with scratch-resistant lenses and resilient frames that include spring hinge technology branded "Funky Flex." So I try to be funkily flexible, too.

I doubt if I could get accustomed to contact lenses. Something in my psychological makeup convulses at the prospect of repeatedly placing plastic discs on my eyeballs, even after slathering them with synthetic tears. I don't know, somehow I got it in my head that I wouldn't have the magic touch when it comes to these kinds of contacts, and that I should stick with strictly journalistic contacts instead.

Therefore, despite my occasional "Mr. Magoo moments" in which I fail to initially recognize something, or someone, I suppose I ought to continue to see my glasses as half-full - even if I only wear them half the time.

Regardless of whether he is wearing his glasses, Brad Bolchunos strives to see things as a bit warm and fuzzy, with a rose-colored tint. But when he is not wearing his glasses and does not immediately recognize someone, he offers another explanation. "I'm cultivating my squint."


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