I’m proud to say I’ve developed a technique for putting in eye drops during the night without turning on the lights. Lucky for me, it doesn’t work very well.
One night recently, I woke up around 2 and reached for my drops. They weren’t on the nightstand where I always put them—or where I intend to always put them. So I dug around in the dark until I found them in the drawer—or thought I did.
I took the lid off, and using my not quite full-proof technique, I aimed and squirted. Some went into my left eye, and some missed and ran down my face—fortunately. Then I shot some into my right eye faster than you can say, “Dang! Why did that hurt so much?”
A lovely smell filled the air, but I didn’t appreciate it fully because I was thinking that I normally don’t smell anything when I put in eye drops. Also because my eyes were on fire.
By now, I’m sure you know where this is going. I was recently given a small bottle of lavender oil which the accompanying pamphlet claims is soothing and promotes sleep. And while that may be true, it’s definitely not soothing in your eyes, nor does it promote sleep once you’ve put it there.
I leapt out of bed, sprinted to the bathroom and stuck my face under the faucet. After splashing around in the sink for ten minutes or so, I sought comfort and additional first aid tips from that source of all knowledge, the internet. I don’t believe the answer to every health question I find there, but I’m always reassured that I’m not the only person who’s ever asked it.
It turns out plenty of people have gotten lavender oil in their eyes, though none in quite the direct manner I did it. Several sites advised rinsing with milk, so I tried that next and I did feel somewhat better. By then it was 3 a.m., my pajamas were soaked and I was out of milk. All the lavender oil in the world couldn’t have soothed me back to sleep at that point.
I learned so much from this experience—mainly not to keep anything that could be mistaken for eye drops in my night stand. It’s a good thing I don’t keep paint thinner by my bed.
As a public service, I’d like to share some of the other lessons I learned in 2020. I hope this will save you from making the same mistakes I made, though I can’t see most people doing that.
For one thing, I learned that laundering money is fine, as long as you do it in the washing machine. But I now know there are a lot of other things you should never run through the washer and dryer, and the worst of all might be lip balm.
Because of the pandemic, I now know how to attend online meetings on my ancient, dilapidated laptop. And I learned that I should set my laptop on a stack of books so that other people at the meeting will look me in the eyes rather than up my nose. I also learned that I should set it there before the meeting starts in case the battery falls out while I’m moving it.
I learned a few lessons in the kitchen last year too and not just that I prefer eating out. I learned that if it can cut meat, it can cut you and that you can always add more chopped onion, but it’s really hard to pick it out once you’ve added too much.
And finally, in 2020 I learned never to trust voice command texting. There’s a big difference between fee and free, bear and bare, and inducted and indicted. Incidentally, I also learned that lesson in 2019, and chances are good I’ll learn it again in 2021.
(Dorothy Rosby is the author of the humor book, I Didn’t Know You Could Make Birthday Cake from Scratch: Parenting Blunders from Cradle to Empty Nest. Contact [email protected])