FEAR AND JUDGEMENT ON THE DAILY COMMUTE ALEX LIGHTBODY FOUND HER GUARDIAN ANGEL ON HER WAY HOME
People watching isn’t just a fun way for me to pass the time. It is an art form. I do not merely criticize the fashion choices of others. I carefully assess the their appearance and make well thought out inferences about their life choices and potential futures. If you claim not to do either of these then you are a liar and cannot be trusted. Despite my tendency to leap to conclusions about complete strangers, I have never feared what others may infer about me. Instead I find comfort in the fact that the just-woke-up/very hungover look that I have adopted tells enough of a story to satisfy fellow people watchers. But something happened the other day that shocked me to my very core. As I took my seat on the bus I felt a pair of eyes upon me. Praying for a bearded, vegan, bar-tender reading Marx, I looked up only to be faced with the most confronting look of both pity and disgust that I will ever experience. It wasn’t the man of my Adelaide Metro dreams; it was some CBD corporate type who was looking beyond my appearance and into the depths of my soul. And he was judging me HARD. In my opinion, I’ve always done a pretty decent job at hiding the true extent to which my life resembles Liz Lemon’s. Obviously the illusion was shattered years ago
amongst friends and family, but they either love me for who I am or continue to pray that I will change. But this suited-up bus goer saw through all the lies I never even had the chance to tell. In fact there was never any conversation between us at all, just an exchange of looks and glances that said more than words ever could. Straight up, I could tell from his slight glare that he knew the bags under my eyes weren’t from crazy partying habits or serious dedication to study. In reality I was painfully awoken at 5am by the stabbing of a thousand crumbs, remnants from my late night nachos-in-bed. As he held his gaze it became clear that he also knew that my tired appearance was worsened by the fact I hadn’t taken off my make-up in three days. He turned his head slightly to the side. Fine, you caught me judgmental stranger, I haven’t showered in a while either. And yes, while we’re at it, the weird mark on my face that I tried to cover with make up IS from passing out on my laptop watching SVU. Congratulations, you win! I tried to look away and not let it get to me. We all have busy weeks where personal hygiene gets lost somewhere between work and internet addiction. But despite my desperate self-reassurance, I could feel the pull of his gaze forcing me to face him once again. He smiled a cruel, Lucius Malfoy-esque smile at the empty coffee cup sticking out of my bag. I wondered if he could tell I was the type of person who unintentionally collected coffee mugs around my bed like an animal hoarder collects cats. I bet he could. Seeing myself through the eyes of this harsh, freakily knowledgeable stranger had made me more determined than ever to get my life together. I wanted to colour code my wardrobe, buy everything from Kikki-K and throw away all the empty chip packets that I had hidden in my room. Maybe this stranger was actually my guardian angel. Maybe he took on human form to give me a slap in the face and a kick in the right direction, one last-ditch attempt at guarding me from myself. I silently promised my angelic guide that I would be a better person from this moment on. Update: Not much has changed, but I now live in fear of catching the 2:43 bus.
Inside: ELECTIONS ELECTIONS ELECTIONS (plus info on HumSS cuts, New Atheism, and travelling America).