My new glasses.
Originally uploaded by Autumn L. Azure
Due to irreparable and self inflicted damage to my glasses, I had to replace them. I really tried to repair my old ones...but I guess super glue really isn't all that super.

I am still pretty much a newbie to glasses, three years, I think. The first time I bought them, I really wanted the look that said, hey, I don't wear glasses, it's an illusion. However, this time around I have acquiesced to them, they are now very much a necessary fact of life as breathing is.

So when I went about searching through the many selections at Lens Crafters on Broadway, I couldn't help but remind myself that this year is not only the year of creative expression, but also nurturing my undeniably nerdy, and very literary existence. Sigh. So my glasses are an extension of myself, rather than a nuisance I'd long to do away.And that's what today's life still is, displaying my true self. Well, as true as an image can make one's self true.

The larger glasses came from Lens Crafters spare pile, buy one pair at full price and you get to rummage (for free!) through their spare pair pile, which includes the irrefutably ugly and fashionably all wrong, and these once were in fashion, but fleetingly. Very fleetingly.

The best I can describe my spare pair, which I'm actually donning at this very moment is Lois Lane -esque. The pair on the right are the ones I paid full price for and a large selling point for me is that they're made from recycled parts and are labeled as eco friendly. It was either these glasses or a pair of another model made by the same company as the eco, Modo, which were not labeled as eco-friendly, but were made in Japan and were the more expensive pair because manufacturing in Japan is apparently not cost-effective.  So the glasses I picked out coincided with my ideas on recycling, but not on my ideas of buying local, or straying away from "Made in China" products. There was a compromise. As there always is.  Because the "eco-friendly" pair donned the sticker "Made in China." Oh the dilemma of the modern-day "aware" consumer. On the bright side, the dilemma did spark an essay idea.

What does it actually mean, in our post post-modern meta-aware world when something says "Made in China?" The signified for me is the ubiquitous sweat shops of Kathy Lee Gifford, which at this point feels like a pretty archaic connection, or maybe not, and the other thing that calls to mind, are the Wal-Mart farms as seen in the 2005 documentary Wal-Mart: The Movie. But have working conditions changed at all in the last decade with these exposed exploitations? Are they better or worse, or the same working conditions? Obviously, it's still  cheap to manufacture in China, but what is the current landscape of these conditions, and the socio-political implications of our unwavering, and desensitized consumerism? Do all Chinese factories have bad working conditions? And if we are aware, and use our dollars to make a stand, when we choose the products we buy, how do we determine what's more important: local or eco? And is corporate and business practice transparency even possible with Capitalist model? And how does one reconcile the fact that "Made in China" or any "Made in [Insert Exploited Cheap Labor Country] feels eminently inescapable?
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