Contact Lens Solution and Lessons in Communication

I always forget one thing when I travel.  Just one, and never the same one.

This time, it was my toiletry bag.

I had been invited to spend the weekend with friends for the impending snowstorm, which would dump 2.5 feet on us over the next 48 hours.  The first day ended and i discovered I had no way to preserve my contact lenses overnight.  No one else in the house wore them, so we ended up boiling some water, adding table salt, and finding a bowl into which I put my contacts and homemade saline solution, praying the internet was wrong about amoebas in the water that would get on your contacts and eat your brain.

Snowstorms and amoebas.

The next morning, I asked my friend to ask his neighbors for contact lens solution.  He said he would, but was in the middle of some other things.  Time went by, I asked again, he heard, still kept working on the stuff he was busy with.  I was frustrated.  Then a thought: He doesn't know that I can only see six inches in front of me.  Fear of brain-eating amoebas had kept me from putting my contacts in, so I had remained incredibly nearsighted all morning.  I mentioned again that I needed contact lens solution, this time explaining my nearsightedness.  he heard and began the process of going to the neighbor's house.

Then another thought came: Why are you making it his responsibility to get you contact lens solution?  Do it yourself, you're not six.  I got my act together, trudged through the snow, knocked on a door, and got a travel-size solution bottle.

I was nearsighted that morning in more ways than one.  And I came away with the revelation that asking these two questions of myself will prevent many conflicts and misunderstandings in the future:

  • Have I fully communicated my needs to this person?
  • Am I asking this person to do something that is actually my responsibility?

Next time you get frustrated with someone, step back and examine yourself.  Because maybe you are the one who needs to shift your thinking. Deal first with your nearsightedness. Only after that can you help another person to see better themselves.