It has become one of my greatest fears. Anyone who wears glasses and lives alone will know what I am talking about.
Here's the scenario: For some reason, your eyes pop open at 2 in the morning. Perhaps sleep was interrupted by a nightmare. More likely, you need to visit the bathroom, or grab a drink of water from the kitchen.
Groggily, still in the grip of semi-unconsciousness, you feel around in the absolute dark for your glasses. On the nightstand? No. Somewhere on the floor, near the bed? Maybe, but how do you know for sure? If you have been wearing glasses since third-grade, about 30 years all told, you are essentially blind without them. There is one additional complication: The frames are black. I should have seen this coming.
Oh my gosh, they could even be somewhere in the bed, wrapped in the covers or hiding beneath a pillow. And your parents' warning from way, way back is still fresh in your mind, as if they had spoken the words just yesterday. "Don't you dare break your glasses. They're expensive."
OK, so jump up, turn on a light, and grope around until they are located. No problem, right? That's a move only a fool would make. Do it, and you will most assuredly hear "the sound." The sound that must be avoided at all costs. The sound that plastic being crunched makes when one of your big man feet blindly comes down in the the wrong place, and pulverizes your eye-wear.
Whew, I'm sweating just writing about this. Of course, with a roommate there is no problem. Presumably, they can see, or at the least, they know where their glasses are, and can safely help you find your pair. I'm sure there are all sorts of heightened dangers for people who live by themselves, but those threats certainly pale next to the prospect of glasses gone missing in the middle of the night.
Of course, this Stephen King-like horror story does not fully capture the advantages and disadvantages of living in a one-person household. Thanks to the U.S. Census, we know how many of us there are. It's 33 million, about 28 percent of all households. That puts millions of eye glasses at risk.
Like every circumstance we encounter on the long journey from bubblegum-chewing adolescent to rocking chair-wielding grandpa, it comes down to accepting the bad with the good.
Pros and cons of living by yourself? Here we go:
The good: Never having to share the television remote control.
The bad: Can't blame anyone else when the remote inevitably gets lost.
The good: The delicious cheese cake is all yours.
The bad: The delicious cheese cake is all yours.
The good: You don't have to do the dinner dishes right after dinner.
The bad: Eventually, you have to do the dinner dishes.
The good: Every item in the mailbox is addressed to you.
The bad: It seems like every item in the mailbox is a bill.
The good: When you have the flu, there is no one else around to infect.
The bad: You have the flu.
And of course, there's that tricky and scary prospect of losing your glasses in the middle of the night. If only there was a solution to that problem. I wonder how much glow-in-the-dark frames would cost?
Neal Simon is a staff writer with The Spectator.