|in a galaxy far far away,|
or unfortunately close
I was lucky enough last week to bear witness to a startling anthropological encounter. It’s really a lucky thing that I was paying attention, too, because I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who witnessed the whole scene as an impartial observer, as my friend Beth was absorbed in her own thoughts about the lipstick she had just purchased and the $60 pillow she wanted to buy (and didn’t). We were traipsing down the hallway away from Nordstrom in the Burlington Mall, a little bit poorer than we were when we had entered the department store, just chatting. No doubt, we were discussing any other stops we needed to make, whether or not $60 was too much to spend on a pillow, and how proud of ourselves we were for not spending any money at Lululemon. I happened to have eyes on all the people around us.
Walking towards us, along side the wall, was a group of three elder men. One of them was probably seventy. He looked of gentle disposition, his spine a bit hunched from wear. The little hair he had was snow white and combed back to cover his shiny, bald head. He had glasses – his eyes looked upward out of them though his head tilted toward the floor. The man in the middle was significantly younger, but disabled. He was hobbling with two crutches. I was unable to determine if his disabilities were solely physical or if they extended into his head as well. His hair was salt and peppered and he also wore glasses. The third man was a vacuum. He was so nondescript that he is completely unmemorable. He was there, he took up space, but other than an outline of a body, nothing remains in my mind to fill his place.
As two groups of people walk towards each other, inevitably, they will pass. And we did approach this convergence. Suddenly, as if struck by a pang of life threatening indigestion, the man on crutches doubled over towards the wall. He was loudly switching between uncomfortable moans and sounds resembling “YUCK!” and “Mother of God!” The moans matched the contortions his body had to make to curl up in between the two crutches, which remained stiff at his sides. The gentle man lifted his hand to his face to cover his eyes and turned his head away. His sounds were softer, but similar. “Awf,” he cry-whispered. And, the unmemorable man, for a brief moment, has a face. A face of shock, of horror, of discontent. A face that floats in space without much more than that outline of a body, a silent body writhing in pain.
“Good grief, I think to myself. What are they looking at? You’d think they’d just seen the Holocaust.” I looked directly across to where their eyes had been and I see colorful galaxies. Purples and blues and stars swirling. What a marvelously strange thing to see in a mall! Especially considering these galaxies were tightly wrapped around the sausage-y legs and bum, in the form of footless tights (AKA leggings), of a not so tiny girl sitting on a bench. The legs were splayed up and out like the appendages of the letter K, very much like the two legs of a child who has tumbled over backwards and is showing the world her knickers, certainly not a posture that would be advised for a young lady in any book on proper manners. I guess these elder men did not enjoy Miss Galaxy Crotch or the fact that she had chosen to wear just the galaxy legs as the only garment on her lower half...or the fact that she was shining her root chakra at them like she thought it was the sun. They seemed quite traumatized. So, the age-old question, or at least my question, of what do older men think of this whole leggings-without-pants trend, has been answered. They’d like you to put it away.