I like sunglasses. I can remember most of the good ones I’ve owned.
I remember buying aviator’s sunglasses because of Tom Cruise in “Top Gun”. I don’t remember where, but they were the cheapies, but the did the trick. Dad took me to meet a member of The Snowbirds so I could learn what it took to be a fighter pilot. I remember the requirements and they didn’t seem all that daunting, but all that worried me was after that if I would still have time to write.
Another pair of sunglasses courtesy of tom Cruise are the ones that were part of a giveaway at Harvey’s, where I was an employee. Neon coloured arms and just simply gorgeous. They were a promotion for “Days of Thunder”.
I remember going to the army surplus store on Main Street in Newmarket (it’s where the Montessori school is now, if you’re interested) after I joined the armed forces reserve. I bought several pairs of those yellow lensed sunglasses for me to use on the range when qualifying for my rifle. I bought several because I kept on breaking them when I stuffed them in my webbing. I don’t ever remember firing a shot wearing them, though. They were especially cool because they hooked around my ears and wouldn’t fly off my head for love nor money and it didn’t matter to me that they irritated the hell out of my ears. I bought pairs of aviator shades from there, too. Same features, only black lenses.
Another memory is of a pair of sunglasses I’ve yet to own. I came to covet them during a short “Lost Boys” phase. I think they are Ray Bans, but the model I’m not sure of. Kind of like a half rimmed pair of shades, metal along the bottom. Oh, I’ve seen knock offs, but I want to own a pair of real ones.
One of the proudest purchases I’ve made is buying a pair of vintage 1980s Ray Ban Wayfarers off eBay. They were from a guy in Australia and I got them in a neat, handtooled sunglass case. I’ve got them both still, but I managed to crack one of the arms. I bought a replacement pair for around the same price but I lost those. Haven’t replaced the replacements, though. Haven’t been inclined.
If I were to give one reason why I like them so much is because they give me confidence. I remember as a kid, enjoying walking down the main drag in Haliburton Village and feeling like a bad ass motherfucker (though I didn’t know that phrase then, its the best one I know now to describe how I felt). I could talk to anyone because I thought that’s how they saw me. And my affection for different styles or manufacturers stems from that.
I told you all of that so I could tell you this.
When I was a ten or eleven year old boy, my family would go to the flea market. The one I remember best is the Stouffville Flea Market. And this was back in the day when you could actually haggle the price down. I had on my Ferrari sunglasses on – the ones that cleverly folded down into its own case – and was negotiating with the vendor. I don’t know how Dad got my attention, but I do remember it was rough. He told me two things.
1. Never show your money. Don’t flash what you have because you’ll never win a negotiation.
2. Respect the person you’re talking to and take off your goddamned sunglasses.
I’ve never forgotten that lesson about the money and the sunglasses.
All this came back to me this morning when I was at Tim Horton’s, eating a bit of a morning snack with my family. I was enjoying my large steeped tea with double milk and double sugar, and I see a guy in line wearing Oakley sunglasses (or Oakely ripoffs – a note about ripoffs ; you may feel cool because you have glasses that look like you spent big bucks but you are denying yourself the indulgent pleasure of wearing high end sunglasses) look at me and shake his head ever so slightly because my kids are rambunctious and having a laughing good time. This got my ire up a little, and there was nothing I could do but sit and stew and convince myself that all I was succeeding in doing was raising my blood pressure. I smiled while I watched him go up and make his order to the person behind the counter without taking off their sunglasses, peeling a five dollar bill off a wad from his pocket.