30 October 2009

Concerning alienation

A few months ago, a girl I knew decided to do a huge research project. She tried explaining to me about how it fit into her five-year plan and everything. Something about this and this and this will happen, and then grad school and then happiness. Pretty sure she also threw in a husband and a nice house. Or at least a boyfriend.

She was a great person and all, I just think she got a little obsessed. I mean, plans are awesome. They really can help if you're not quite sure of what you're doing. At least when you have a plan, you can make yourself believe that you're in control of things. The project was literally sucking her life away. I used to talk to her all the time, but after a summer of doing nothing but research on the computer and in the library at school, I hardly ever spoke to her. I don't know...maybe she was trying to push something out of sight and mind? Who knows?

I just thought it was insane; it was such a huge undertaking, and usually people do the kind of stuff she was doing with a year set aside for it. She was talking about finishing in half of a year. Maybe if I'd've kept up with her more, I would understand it better now. Any time I actually saw her, she had this wild look in her eyes, like a velociraptor was being reflected in the green of her irises. Actually, I think she sort of stopped communicating with some of her other friends, too. There's at least one or two specific ones that I know of. I wonder if she even realized what she was doing?

Probably not. I just don't get it. She finished the project and called me up a week or so ago; I could hear the grin in her voice and I knew she was back. When she called I was getting ready to go somewhere, and while we talked I looked in the mirror. Mirrors are funny things, you know. We look at them for a certain amount of time in the morning, and then expect our reflection to stay the same for the rest of the day. And when we realize that our reflection has changed, we flip out. It's like hearing your own voice in a phone message. Creepy. Unnerving. Jolting.

The best part about this all is the subject of this girl's project: alienation. I must have asked her twenty times ever since she started it to explain to me what it was she was researching. Something about a French dude and drugs and searching out "a state of alienation". This last time she called me, it finally clicked in my head. I let out a long, "Ohhhhhhhh..." and started laughing into the mirror.

She'd mentioned that she'd thought about trying drugs for the project, just to see how things really did change. The only problem is that she's completely anti-fake stuff, especially stuff that can be addicting or dangerous. So I guess it was more of an amusing idea than anything.
Back to the laughing..
So there I was, holding the phone in one hand and a tube of mascara in the other. Laughing into the mirror, looking straight into my own eyes.

It's hilarious, really, that a project about alienation, the purposive act of becoming "other", can lead to an actual alienation.
Green-gold eyes smile vividly in front of me as I give up on makeup and simply walk out the door.

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