Just a year ago 20/20 was putting the finishing touches on the two March issues for the annual Vison Expo East at the NYC’s Javits Center. At that time, warnings were multiplying daily about a virus with a potentially nasty impact on life. We were at the extensive handwashing stage relatively unaware that in just another month, there would be no Expo East. There would be no working from our new WebMD offices. There would continue to be a 20/20 in both a print and digital presence, but its creation would be shifted to a work-from-home condition persisting to this second as I type these words in my home office basement, 16 miles from the city where I’ve worked for my entire career.

In all of the years I’ve been at 20/20, I’ve relished the train commute for the day the column was due since that’s where I would basically compose these thoughts. I wouldn’t actually be writing the words on a computer. I would be ruminating the essence of the thoughts in a sort of mental scramble, where the gist of what I wanted to say was nearly memorized to the point where the commitment to typing it out then came in a flow of words at my desk computer, fueled by where my heart and soul took those sentiments right through to you, our readers.

That process has now completely changed at least for the moment. That train and brain time composition exercise now occurs when I wake up at 2 a.m. in the morning in a stressful panic about every facet of my life ranging from the challenge of being a type 1 diabetic during a worldwide pandemic to the fret of being the father of a tech college student struggling to fulfill in-person auto restoration lab classes fully masked, followed by breaks for meals retrieved from the college’s cafeteria and eaten in the crushing solitude of his dorm.

So read this knowing my attempt to message you got me through another sleepless night, and I thank you for that. On this particular issue, my days were spent working alone with my home’s water heater and gas boiler peeking out at me just a few feet away as I cherished nearly 30 calls with contributing editor Barry Santini, as he worked HIS way through what I consider to be a groundbreaking story on tele-opticianry dealt out here and in a part two in our second March issue.

Second March issue? Yes. We’re still here and still armed, and ready for a new eyewear season doing just about as much as we’ve done in past years to enlighten and stimulate what it takes to meet and beat the challenges we face… together. Excuse me. Gotta go. Santini is calling me before he starts HIS day at his Seaford optical shop doing that ever evolving thing opticians do.

James J. Spina
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