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John Mahoney's Free-fire Zone
John Mahoney
John Mahoney
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is editor of the Log Cabin Chronicles.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 03.25.04
Fool's Hollow, Quebec

JOHN MAHONEY

The eye in the storm

SHERBROOKE, QC | Things do not look so good to Johnny and he is commencing to grumble.

He has a 3:30 p.m. eye appointment with Dr. Laser and he arrives early, as he always does. Johnny has an unhealthy dread of being late.

The Silver Fox is with him because she will have to drive home as they are going to dilate Johnny's left eyeball, freeze it, and zap him countless times with a laser beam.

This painless procedure, Dr. Laser assures him, will get rid of the tiny opaque nasties left over from the cataract surgery/lens implant he did last December.

Johnny is enthused about the prospects, if not the procedure. He assures the Silver Fox they will be on their way home long before dark.

This assurance is necessary because the Silver Fox does not have night vision nor she does possess much in the way of depth perception. Thus, she never drives at night.

It's four o'clock now and snowing heavily. She looks out the window. Johnny says not to worry. They'll soon be out of the crowded waiting room.

He repeats this at 4:30, 5:15, 5:45, and at 6:15 as the sky darkens and the parking lot turns white. His eyeball is no longer frozen, no longer dilated -- the stuff the nurse squirted into it has long since lost its effectiveness. And she's gone home.

The good doctor has been overbooked by the hospital office staff and he's working his way through the waiting room of patients.

At 6:30 -- three hours to the minute since he was first dilated and frozen -- Johnny sees Dr. Laser, who squirts him again and says "I'll call you in fifteen minutes."

Which he does. Dr. Laser pries Johnny's trembling left eyelid open and zaps him ever so many times in about five minutes.

Johnny is reminded of retouching pixel artifacts with Adobe Photoshop -- Zap! Zap! Zap!

At 6:50 p.m. Dr. Laser says he'll see Johnny in a month.

It's dark now and snowing heavily as they slide into their red Chrysly Neon which is now a white Chrysly Neon.

The Silver Fox does well behind the wheel -- despite the snow, there are city lights and she makes it safely the five miles to Lennoxville and the pharmacy for Johnny's eye meds.

"I'll be okay," she says.

But Johnny knows better. He knows that half a mile down the street the lights end and then it's thirty miles of whiteout down a bad road.

"I'll drive," he says. "My eye's thawing out, and the halos aren't that bad in my cataracted right eye. Give me the key."

Let Johnny summarize the trip for you:

He can't see the side of the highway as he creeps along, nor the center line which is buried beneath several inches of falling snow. However, he can see the oncoming headlights, fat and glaring. Bad mistake to turn on the high beams, fella, what with the snow racing into the windshield.

Beside him, in the death seat, the co-pilot -- suffering from an advanced case of running commentary -- helps with observations: "You're too close to the side!"; suggestions: "Why don't you pull over and wait it out!"; and ejaculations: "My God, I can't see anything!"

A bottle of red upon arrival at The Hovel helps. So does a tot of brandy.

One eye down, one to go hopefully, in the summer when the only thing that falls is darkness, after 8 p.m.

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