Seeing Eye

Dear Goddamned Beagle,

You’re aware, I assume, of the exploits and heroism of some of your colleagues. There are dogs that run into terrifying situations to apprehend a bad guy, some who jump out of helicopters to find lost civilians or rush into combat. There are some of your kind who serve as the eyes of their human companion, steering them through all aspects of life. They skillfully guide them along city streets, onto public transportation, through unknown environments, day and night, quietly watching over their partner.

This morning I woke up late, a result of too many bedtime episodes of 24 Hours in A&E, the greatest British documentary series ever filmed. (Patient: “I’ve been stabbed! In the head!” Trauma Nurse, while calmly attending to the bleeding: “I know. How annoying.” Elderly Patient: “I seem to have lost the use of my legs. I remember during the war this happened to mother once.” Trauma Nurse: “That’s OK, love. Can I get you a cup of tea?”)

Without my glasses, my sight can best be described as, “I’m pretty sure I’m looking at the face side of a person three feet away.” Not wearing them is not an option. I’d never find the bike in the next room. I’d never find the next room. Realizing I must have fallen asleep with my glasses on, I fished around my pillow, assuming I’d find them there next to the remote responsible for the Up / Down imprint on my face most mornings. Not there.

I did a controlled sweep, full arm out flat, carefully extended along the bed’s surface. Nope. I peeled each layer back, first the top cover, then the comforter, then the top sheet. Nothing. I looked at you sleeping in the middle of the bed under your fleecy grey throw. I carefully moved the throw around you, running my hand along your perimeter. No glasses. I pulled the blanket all the way off of you, but I was only rewarded with a raised head, a glare, and a sigh when I put the blanket back over you, no glasses to be found.

This had gone far enough. I went to my backup specs, a pair so old and scratched that I can’t read through them, but they’d do for a sweaty, groaning bike ride. I did my cardio duty, took a shower and got dressed, determined to solve this mystery.

I looked around. I have a pretty tidy room, with no piles of laundry or stacked boxes where things can hide. Besides, what could have happened while I was sleeping to move the glasses from the bed? I picked up each pillow, looked in each pillowcase, took them off the bed. I smoothed the covers flat. I looked at each layer and section of the bed carefully. I peeled them back over you, still sleeping in the middle of the mattress, from the top, and then from the foot of the bed. I lifted your throw blanket completely off of you. My glasses were just not there.

I’d now gotten up, searched, exercised, showered and stripped the bed around you looking for my ability to see clearly. With your blanket gone, you raised your head, gave a big yawn, and rolled onto your belly, easing your way into the day with your customary combat crawl. As you stretched toward the edge of the bed, pulling yourself forward, once again yawning, I heard them. Well, I heard the slight clack of $180 frames snapping against $1,200 lenses.

I turned my head back toward you. You gave me a squinty ‘good morning’ snort as you squirmed forward, my glasses catching on your undercarriage as they bent improbably and sprang back into their original, as-flexible-as-promised shape.

I reached under your belly and pulled them out, no worse for wear, really, other than the fur stuck to where you’d been licking the lenses along with yourself. I could still see through them better than the old pair.

All this to say, beagle, that while I try not to compare, but rather judge individuals for who and what they are, your kind is supposed to add to the benefits of their owners’ sensory abilities, not remove them. Not hide them. Definitely not sleep on them.

Perhaps there’s a more heroic side to this I haven’t considered. Perhaps you noticed their lack of a protective case, or you were keeping them safe in case burglars entered in the middle of the night.

Yes, that’s probably it. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, beagle. You do your species proud.

Your Person

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