Thursday, March 05, 2015
A small woman I do not know pushes her knee between my thighs and moves her face closer to mine. I can feel the jets of breath from her nostrils upon my face.
I’m unsure when I have last felt so awkward, unhappy and anxious to be somewhere else.
“Is this any better?” She asks.
It’s really not.
I have not visited an optician in nine years. My existing spectacles have one arm and the lenses routinely fall-out. It has become a Sisyphian task to keep them assembled long enough to watch thirty-minutes of television. Something I rarely do anyway but it’s not the point.
People being close to me, touching me or having their face near mine is not a favourite. My own mother, after the death of her father - my grandfather (obviously) - has recently become a ‘hugger’ after thirty-nine years of perfectly comfortable physical and emotional distance.
That’s bad enough. But this unknown young lady putting her fingers behind my ears and breathing her lunch in my face is intolerable.
“Any better?” She asks again.
I resolve to say ‘yes’ to anything she ever asks so I no longer need to be near her.
“How’s this”? It’s like this : I’m in a distressingly unfamiliar situation, I’m about to be robbed of my routine short-sightedness which has been a source of comfort as I’ve not been able to see anything that may trouble me whilst enjoying the subconscious effect of not being able to see anyone too far away – as a result one’s brain assumes no-one can see you, it’s like having a superpower - and I’m jittery and just want to be on my own.
I say none of this.
Three days later I have an uncomfortable pair of spectacles for the first time in years.
And realise I am due a haircut. Will this hell ever end?