You can’t say I didn’t fight, but alas, the battle is lost. My driving licence is theoretically on ice for a year, pending a doctor’s certificate to say that my visual acuity is good enough for it to be returned, but “theoretically” is the operative word. Unless a miracle happens, it’s gone.
I’m disappointed, of course. I had hoped and prayed that the optician would be able to fit me out with distance glasses that would make up the missing points. I’m frustrated that I’m so near yet so far! If I had this level of sight in both eyes I’d be acceptable to the Swiss authorities, and it appears that even with only one eye functioning properly I’d be legal driving in the UK. However, the Swiss demand a minimum of 60% in two eyes or 80% (i.e. 6/7.5 or 20/25) for one-eyed drivers, and mine is 67% (6/9 or 20/30) in my good right eye and about 10% (6/60 or 20/200) in my poor old left eye. Apparently, distance correction is impossible.
It feels like a loss of independence. I have to resign myself to public transport and Shanks’s pony. A friend suggested a bike, but I can’t steer straight and would be a public menace on a bike. That isn’t false modesty: several years ago, I did actually try for a few weeks practising assiduously on local farm tracks, but had to admit defeat. It’s also goodbye to my dream of doing a round with the Stig
It won’t hurt me to walk, of course, and in fact will be very beneficial for me. I need the exercise and might actually get fit and slim(mer). Public transport in Switzerland is excellent, and with the money I’ll be saving on car costs I can buy a “Generalabonnement”, a season ticket that is valid on all Swiss railways, ferries and lake steamers, mountain railways and cable cars, trams and buses, etc. That must be an incentive to get out and about, just to get my money’s worth!
There are other compensations. I no longer need to wear glasses, except for reading like most of my contemporaries, so I can flutter my eyelashes and flash my crow’s feet at the world. My little ditty “Myopia Blues” no longer applies to me: I wake up in the morning and can see details of the world around me. Trains and boats and cable cars offer the opportunity for chatting to people, and some very interesting characters I’ve met in my time.
I ought to have been selfish and bought the yellow convertible I was fancying last time I changed my car instead of the silver VW Polo, very practical and sedate, but what I needed. Unlike Lucy Jordan, who realised at the age of 37 that she’d never ride through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair, my realisation comes at (almost) the age of 73, so I suppose I’m one up on that poor lass. And all being well, I shan’t need rescuing from the rooftop and won’t have to be carried off in a long white car as she was.
Oh well, I suppose I could still get that canary-coloured cabriolet – and once I’ve walked myself into shape I can go and flutter my eyelashes at some handsome toy boy on the train, and persuade him to chauffeur me around.
Champs Elysées, here I come!