Searching for Glasses in the Dark

For those bespectacled individuals, this is not an uncommon scene:

You wake, perhaps in the middle of the night or early enough in the morning that light hasn't entered, and grope the nightstand for your glasses; they aren't there. It doesn't matter why you've awoken, only that you want to see clearly and cannot. Blurry eyed—from sleep and nearsightedness—you probe the darkness for the thing you know well. You slowly wander the usual places and spaces—the coffee table, kitchen counter, bathroom sink. If these searches yield result, well then it's off to whatever chore awoke you.

glassesglasses where they belong

If not, a bit of panic might set in, and a new Q and A algorithm takes over. When did I last wear them? Could they be on the floor? I might step on them! I'll tread lightly. Should I search methodically the whole apartment, or continue wondering at the most likely of places?

Eventually—hopefully, at least—you find them, right on the arm of the couch next to the book you read last night. The moment of success manifests itself in a literal rush of clarity, measured by the motion from arm-reaching-for-glasses to arm-bending-towards-face. By now the sleep in your eyes has faded, and vision lights up the ovals around your eyes.

It is said, though who can know for sure, that Monet's "Impression, Sunrise" depicts the artists just-awoken view of the La Havre harbour in France. The painting, then, is an impression of that moment between darkness and clarity not unlike the scene above.

Impression, Sunrise"Impression, Sunrise" by Claude Monet

I am interested in Monet here not for his skill as a painter, but rather for his attention to the middle process between unknown and known. Much like searching for glasses in the dark (and maybe impressionism), decision making is a mediator between two poles in the event of decisiveness. It is not, though, an uncomplicated or irrelevant process.

Searching in the dark is about confusion and frustration as much as it is about deliberation and eventual clarity—all ways of coming to an end. As an image of my manner of making decisions, it helps to explain the shortstop between unknown and known. Decision making is, on one hand, a means to an end (searching in the dark), but also an uncanny state of being (impression). Being in the manner of making a decision means groping for something known—glasses, and also clarity—but through a gauntlet of near-impasses, loose ends, and refigured motives.