{October 1, 2011}   Smoke & Mirrors

Today was going to be a magic day. When I’m in the practicing hobbies mode, I tend to allocate individual days to specific hobbies depending on certain things. It tends to go that if I have lots of energy it’ll either be juggling or guitar, and if I’m just mentally alert it’ll be either magic or art. So today was supposed to be for reading up on magic history and/or learning/practicing tricks. I did the shopping (1st time in Lidl – they are darn good you know, great prices but the bread’s solid as Memory Foam), had another walk and supped a mini pot’s worth of Earl Grey while people-watching… all of this helps to get me in the creative-inventive-artistic mood.

Today was going to be a magic day, but then I realised how expensive socks are. That was my one big quest for the shopping day; to buy some more socks so that I wouldn’t have to do my laundry quite so soon. The first place was selling bad socks at a blistering £5 a pair. ALL the other shops had no socks – I got lost in one place for a while, apparently trapped on the bottom floor from which you can only get out using the hidden escalator. I don’t know how to explain this… but personally I find there’s something particularly panicking about being stuck somewhere, surrounded by bland, large lingerie. I guess some part of me remembers that episode of Father Ted a little too vividly. But also I think there is something inherently spooky about a section of a store filled with near-naked faceless mannequins and wispy, weird-shaped clothing that comes in mostly white, some black, and the rest in old-ladies’-stockings-brown. Even La Senza had that problem, extending their colour range only to include the occasional flash of red or purple – and they’re meant to be specialists in that area! It’s like hearing of the greatest magician in the world, and then going to his show and finding that he only does tricks with sponge balls, cards and the chinese linking rings. Mostly I’m left asking why it has such a reputation when all it sells is mundane, boring, and in some cases actually kinda repulsive?


Today was going to be a magic day, but all the walking and the searching and the getting lost and the scary bras and scary prices and the cig-smoke smell of the flat I retreated to and the fact that according to BBC iPlayer I can’t watch Doctor Who until tomorrow… I just feel quite glum now. I just want to sleep and get rid of this blue mist and neck-ache and start over again in the morning. I just don’t understand why anyone would smoke anymore. Is it still cool in some places or in some groups? We all know the harm it does now; real permanent, life-shortening damage. And not to mention the cost of the damn stuff. I bet students that party lots and smoke have a lot more trouble with their money. I just don’t understand what could draw people to it, and to stay with it, when we know what it really is now. I just can’t see how you could start, and how you could bare to continue. I wish I was strong enough to confront people about things like this, because if they can’t confront themselves with the reality of what they’re doing to themselves, then maybe what they need is for someone caring to tell them they’re wrong.


One interesting thing that I did notice with all that walking was how everyone seemed to be drawn to reflective surfaces. It seemed like just about everyone who passed a reflective surface, be it a mirror or store window, looked in to check themselves. I don’t really understand that personally – is it something vain? Or insecure? I mean I think I’d only do that if I was on the way somewhere important and needed to make sure that I looked smart before I arrived. But with everyone else… they’re just so attached. There’s no conscious need to check, they just see it and for a few seconds they can’t look anywhere else. I like mirrors. I like to see myself in them too. But getting briefly transfixed by myself while I’m out and about? It’s like looking at photos of a friend when you’re spending time with another friend; it’s nice to see, but now is in no way the right time. You can stare into your own eyes and turn about and smarten yourself up, sure. If you want to appreciate the moment though, shouldn’t that be pretty well confined to being on your own, prepping for the day ahead or when you’re bored or getting philosophical about what it means to be you?


I guess it was a magic day after all, even if it was a little convoluted.


I just don’t understand how anyone could find any magic in their smoke and mirrors. But then again, I’m sure many of them won’t understand how I can see magic in coins and roses.


Nick says:

The only possible appeal of smoking I can see is to look badass. Because there’s nothing cooler than poisoning yourself internally


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