Existential Assfasia

There is mad potential to read any given face. Much to be learned by countenance and demeanor. The younger you are, the fewer arrows in your quiver, fewer bullets spent, less likely you have any idea who you are. Less to know from your face.

The older the face, the more there is to see.

Beyond all that, I’m confident the human face is relatable, despite the plethora of bias and prejudice we are consistently shithammered with by institutions of religion, politics, racism, bigotry and media. An elaborate but clumsily orchestrated indoctrination that is visible on all our faces by the time we reach forty years of age. Not just America. Any “civilized” country in the world.

That sort of assault leaves scars.

Yup. Always.

There are times I’m able to see behind people’s eyes. I always look to an eye when I’m talking with someone. The trick is to pick one and focus on it. Otherwise, the other person sees you searching back and forth and that’s never going to work in your favor. It’s also your best shot at catching a glimpse.

I was downtown in the jewelry district today, trying to seal a deal for a fellow agent. I brought papers for a man to sign and he kept lowering his eyes, almost intently staring at my throat or chest when he spoke.

Disconcerting.

I began to understand the deal was unlikely to get done this day. He had legitimate points and concerns and I was unfamiliar with the history and specifics. His reluctance to look me in the eye, particularly as he spoke to me, allowed me to see this. I’m not one to aggressively negotiate when I don’t have all the facts ma’am. I might do more harm than good.

I couldn’t help but wonder what I was doing there.

I fell back to friendly and conciliatory. Assuring and soothing. I made sure he knew his agent would eliminate all wrinkles before moving forward and left the paperwork with him after seeing he had a fax machine.

I talked peripherally. Since Christmas I’ve been carrying appraisal and gem certification documents for an engagement ring I bought in my man purse. I asked his opinion on this ring I bought some seven years ago. He was happy to help. He began to look me in the eye.

He showed me actual wholesale price sheets detailing current rates for a stone similiar in color and clarity to mine broken down by carat weight. He confessed there were newer price sheets, his were well worn. It may be worth more. We parted friends and he gave me his card letting me know he’d be happy to introduce me to the right person were I to decide to sell the stone. He shook my hand and patted me on the back as I left.

I’d done my best. I went in search of a greasy hot dog to tick up my countdown to angioplasty, preferably from a street vendor. Grilled onions, mustard and some lemonade. Looking for the real deal and I found it. Three or four blocks down Broadway under a red and blue umberella. Plenty of napkins. I ate it on a bus bench. Stayed and had a smoke after, while I watched the people.

The afternoon shadows imposed by towering spires were epic. A static parade and a moveable feast.

What I saw in their faces was astonishing. Not so much pain as indifference. Hopelessness and resignation. Not like a mall, where there is empty optimism. The malls here are ghost towns these days anyway. No trouble finding parking.

Far more organic with a much stronger pulse. What they wore in their eyes and on the fronts of their heads was far more visceral and genuine than what’s available in a mall. Nothing to hide. A matter of least concern.

Desperation was a step these people had already moved well beyond. They live and that’s all. One day, one hour at a time.

It hit me that I was simultaneously in love and in hate with the world. No ephinany, just realization. Neither good nor bad. Reality. My reality. Everyone has their own.

I loathe boxing movies. No suspension of disbelief. I like submarine movies.

Drinks for my friends.

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