Drip. Drop. Sizzle. Pause….Drip. Drop. Sizzle. Pause. I licked my dry lips. They tasted like whiskey sour. Only then did I remember I woke up even earlier in the morning with a headache. Memory seeped into present. The headache had not faded. Reluctantly I opened my crusted eyes. A late morning sun creeped through my blinds. Drip. Drop. Sizzle. Pause. The scent of coffee filled my apartment and drew me out of bed toward the kitchen. I pulled the coffee pot away from its heated nest. I’d carelessly placed it off-center, just enough to let small tributaries of coffee seep down to the maker’s burner.
By the time I reached my car, the headache had subsided and the taste of whiskey had been replaced with toothpaste. I took a deep breath of fresh air, exhaled, and sat down in my car. I let myself delve into the silence for a few moments. A soft, soothing whine creeped in through the closed windows. Wind proves to be a powerful flute player on rooftop lots. The moment passed. I then decided to fill the airwaves while I waited for one of my companions to arrive. I turned the key in the ignition. “A safer car. Sleeping well. No paranoia.” My speakers boomed the computer generated voice from Radiohead’s “Fitter, Happier”. The track timecode was bookmarked since I was last in my car. Survival instincts kicked in. Reflexively I reached for the volume dial and ripped it counterclockwise. I took a deep breath of stale air. The car had been sitting there untouched for a week. I rolled down the window and took another deep breath. Better. Much better.
I sat for a few more moments. Movement came from my driver’s side sideview mirror. I glanced over, nothing. No one yet. I looked over to the navigator’s sideview mirror. There was no mirror. The frame was still in place, but the mirror that used to be inside it was gone. Even the plate that serves as the mirror’s adjustor was still in place. I sat there, puzzled at what could have happened. I checked underneath and beside the car. Nothing. Because of the strange nature of the disappearance, I chose to believe it was the strong winds that ripped off the mirror and carried it away. It caused me less anxiety.
I gazed endlessly at where the mirror used to be. My thoughts drifted to the mirror count in my apartment. The bathroom mirror, which doubles as a toiletry cabinet, is the only one I have. I cannot remember a time when I’ve had fewer ego reflectors in a place I’ve lived. It’s refreshing. A friend once mused to me that one of humanity’s greatest weaknesses is self reflexiveness. That desire to understand one’s self fully, independently, and in relationship to others and history is often times counterproductive. The time we spend looking in a mirror, whether literally, or figuratively, halts working on ourselves and living in the moment. With more mirrors present, it’s tempting to watch and dissect life, rather than live it.
These thoughts flowed through the cortexes of my head, clinging to walls and planting seeds as I weaved in and out of large crowds at a food festival in Oakland. College’s “A Real Hero” played on repeat in my brain, expanding the self reflexivity in my thoughts. “And you have proved to be…a real human being.” After seeing “Drive”, the beat, voice, and lyrics haunted me. Three friends followed close behind me in the Saturday morning festival crowd. What was their definition of me, I thought glancing back at them? What kind of human being was I? Friend? Coworker? Thoughtful? Intelligent? Guarded? Witty? Goofy? Restrained? Quiet? I halted my line of questioning. Let’s take down these mirrors, I thought to myself, and live life rather than dissect it.