The Clash/Daily Prompt, Mirrors

Daily Prompt: Mirror, Mirror: Look in the mirror. Does the person you see match the person you feel like on the inside? How much stock do you put in appearances?

There was a time I cared about this. It was 10 years ago. I was in Verona. An older British woman and I hung out together a lot. She kept referring to us as “Golden Oldies.” I wasn’t a Golden Oldy. I was something else. I really did not know what I looked like TO OTHER PEOPLE. I knew who I was. To resolve the question of how I looked to others, I took a photo of myself in the bathroom mirror in my small and sleepless Verona apartment. I downloaded it onto my lap top so it was nearly life size. I saw myself, maybe for the first time. It was unsettling. Who was that person? I’d intentionally tried NOT to “do” anything with my face. Just look in the mirror.  I looked at the photo until I no longer saw “me” and no longer reacted to the clear signs of age. I soon saw someone else, another woman. I could see she’d been through some stuff, but she didn’t seem bitter or angry. Maybe determined. I liked her eyes. I felt compassion for her. I thought I would like her if I knew her. 

I was curious, too, because, on my way to Verona, in the airport where I caught my international flight, I had met up with the Great Love of My Life. Now, I admit that I should have been WITH this man, but I wasn’t and I won’t be. I hadn’t seen him in nearly two decades. He lived in the city where I caught my connecting flight, and it was a serendipitous coincidence that he would be landing there about an hour before my flight landed.

His message to me, “I’ll meet your flight,” had two meanings. He’d meet my plane and my FLIGHT.

We spent about an hour together, and, in the first moments I saw him, I looked at him quite intently, looking into his face truly for a reflection of my own. I wanted to see what his eyes saw. That was the only image that mattered, the reflection of me in his eyes.

—————————-

OK, so I’ve happened to have survived into a dimension in which phones are cameras (and mirrors) and people take pictures of themselves. People also write about themselves and stare at a screen all day (I do that) expressing themselves. The irony of this is there is no self without contact with others in the external world. I even live in a time when the existence OF an external world is actually debated. There are people who believe that just because an observation of particle behavior changes the behavior of particles that observation is everything. No. I’m sorry. That isn’t the case. The observer might very well, by virtue of his/her physical existence in the external world, in proximity to the particle generator… well never mind. I can’t debate quantum physics; I can take issue with the squishy conclusions people make about their own importance.

So in this world of selfies and “reality stars” and the whole frankly alien — and alienating — mess, NO. I don’t want to look in the mirror and evaluate that image. The interesting image is out there. It is what I do in the world. I LIKE the disjoint between my “image” (white haired grandma) and who I am. Last semester, for example, I walked into one of my classes on the first day and my iPad spontaneously decided to, loudly, play The Clash. My iPad was  buried in my backpack so we all heard most of “Magnificent 7” before I was able to find it and turn it off. The students are grinning. The chubby white-haired grandma in front of the room is grinning. “Well, now you know.”

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/daily-prompt-mirrored/

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