Maybe it's because we grew up lower middle-class. Maybe it's because I was forced to learn the value of the dollar the old-fashioned way (my first job at 14 was working at the library for the meager wage of $4.23/hour). Maybe it's because my parents passed on the genetic condition of packratitis to me and the hoarding is coded into my DNA. Whatever the reason, I find myself at a crossroads every month.
I can't bear to throw away my disposable contact lenses.
The rational voice nattering in my brain knows better; it argues that lenses worn beyond its lifespan will detrimentally affect the health of my corneas. It reasons that professionals know what they are doing when they set these expiration dates, and I would do well to listen to their educated advice. It even justifies that since I have plenty of replacement lenses housed in my bathroom drawer, I do not have to keep these lenses beyond their monthly limit.
However, my cheap Chinese ass is not so easily persuaded. The frugal part of me rationalizes that since I only wear my lenses 3 days a week (as opposed to all 7), it makes mathematical sense that I can therefore extend the lifetime of the lenses to 2 months (with a few days to spare, no less!). I also consider the fact that, according to my naked (blind) eye, there are no visible traces of debris or tearing on my perfectly-good lenses, nor are my eyes crusting over with infection or bloodshot from lack of oxygen. Does that not suggest that these lenses are still good? My conspiracy theories kick into full gear to support my thrifty ways; maybe the manufacturers are in cahoots with the optometrists and the dispensaries, and the whole "dispose after one month" line that they feed me is simply a money-making gimmick to lure unsuspecting contact wearers to purchase lenses more frequently than they actually need to!
And so the debate rages on in my brain as I take my perfectly-functional, past-due lenses out of my eyes. Do I let these expensive little contacts shrivel up in the dry heat of an Albertan winter? Or do I let them soak in the bliss of some sterile Opti-Free Solution, spared of their fate for one more day?
You would be surprised at how torn I become whenever this decision has to be made.
And it did tonight. My current contacts are now nearly 2 months old (worn only 2-3 times/week - don't judge), and yet I struggled with the decision to throw those things in the garbage after taking them out of my non-irritated eyes. You would be proud of me - I did finally throw them out, after much internal warfare. But don't think I was happy about it. It hurt every fiber of my cheap-wad being to do this, and even now I wonder if I can't fish those things out of the garbage and re-soak them to vitality once more.
I guess in the end, I have to acknowledge the reality that I'll be fighting the cheap for the rest of my life. This is just the cross I must bear.