Vanity, Vanity, All Is Vanity

Trieste road signNotwithstanding that I appear to have misquoted the quote in the title, I wonder what might be your position on clip-on sunglasses?

I ask, simply because I suspect that your response will be wholly dependent on your age. I, for one, have spent many years of my life to date abhorring both the look and the style of these optical appendages – belonging, as they do, to ‘old people’ – in much the same way of those photochromic spectacles that ‘old people’ also insist on wearing, the darkened colouration of which always seems to be a miserable middling-grey, imparting to the wearer the appearance of an otherwise semi-well-dressed (but still slightly ghoulish) Grim Reaper.

And yes, dear reader, you’re yet again well ahead of me since you’ve already guessed where this is going: I – your esteemed author and hitherto dedicated follower of fashion – have acquired a pair of clip-on sunglasses, which – much to my own consternation – I have found to be A Very Good Thing Indeed.

Gone are my days of carefree youth, when – as a spectacle wearer since the age of 16 – I had always felt the need to avail of the ‘two-pairs’ offers favoured by high street opticians – and as such became a slave to carrying these two pairs around with me while on holiday in sunny climes. Thus, they were swopped over (with a  hopelessly underdeveloped lack of dexterity) every time I came in from the sunshine – or indeed, went back out into it. Shops; museums; sea-life centres; restaurants and café-bars; underground stations; driving through tunnels – each became a challenge with which even an experienced chain-saw juggler would have struggled – as one pair had to be taken off and stowed, while the other pair was contemporaneously deployed and worn – with all the effort involved in twin-arm unfolding (dextrous tongue and nose activity often involved if hands were otherwise occupied) during which time I was given to believe that the effort was all worthwhile, as I continued to look at my trendiest best throughout.

Wrong. I just looked like a complete prannock.

Whereas now ( thanks to a particularly large wave which rolled me and from which I emerged through the surf wondering why everyone on the beach looked suddenly very bright and very fuzzy) having lost my trendy sunglasses to the Atlantic, I am now practically equipped with a highly-cost-effective, very unprescriptive, hugely practical and functional pair of clip-on sunglasses.

Now, for every tunnel, underground station, café, bar, restaurant (and yes, even badly lit public-toilets – what a boon,) I simply flip ‘em up and wander round, uncaring of the fact that – from a distance – I appear to have very large brown eyebrows. I clip’em or flip’em on and I clip’em or flip’em off with gay abandon, attaching them when not required to the Knumptwagen’s sun-visor (trendy, eh?) or even to parts of my clothing (I think I look particularly fetching with them clipped to the placket (don’t worry – it’s a Lands End word which I don’t understand either) of my trendy, flower-patterned short-sleeved holiday shirts.

My only slight concern with this sublime fashion-statement of the Over-Sixty is that I am now edging ever closer to an unhealthy and premature interest in dark-grey photochromics.

Footnote: Enough frivolity. This piece was intended to be a vaguely journalistic account of our continuing Knumptytravels across Europe and I had fully intended that Trieste should feature – travelogue-style – in this piece (hence the thoroughly misleading photo) but hey, yeah, I get easily sidetracked, and it hasn’t, obvs. So do please bear with me – it will next time, OK?

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