Do you ever imagine looking at yourself from another person’s perspective? You see this person that is you, but you don’t really know him (or her), because in truth, you have never met him; the chance has never been given to you. Surely, you know yourself from inside. You are you, there is no denying that. But all you know about yourself is merely from your perspective. Every thought, every impression you have about you, is tainted by your nature, your memories, experiences, characteristics, habits, psychology, etc. But imagine for a moment that you are one of your friends, and that you’re walking towards yourself. Do you feel any different? Is that person in front of you really the person you know yourself to be? You look at yourself move, saunter, shift, reach into your bag, or ruffle your hair, you observe your gait, the length of your strides; you see yourself at angles you have never seen before, you hear your voice; it sounds so different from what reverberates in your head. Just who is this person before you? It is you, but it is also the person you know the least about. You are a stranger to yourself.
Today, as I stood on the train, I didn’t know what to do. I looked down at my brown shoes, but nothing happened. So I looked away. I turned to watch the person in front of me staring into his phone. He didn’t move. Nothing happened. So I took out my own phone, hoping to find some relief. I flipped through the pages twice, then switched it off. The icons drowned in a flash of black. I looked up and stared at my own reflection; it was quivering in beyond the glass. The train jerked to a halt. People leave and people enter, and the train began to move once more. I didn’t know what to do. So I looked down at my brown shoes. Nothing happened. Nothing happens.
Reality again seems strange, distant, dysfunctional, other-worldly. I cannot comprehend this feeling which often overcomes me. It is as if I am divested of my true self, and my being continues to function only on vestiges of a once full soul. What apparition, ghoul, hell-bent hellion or fiendish power has come to rob me of my character and spirit? There remains a familiarity of course, but it is like that of a lost cousin whom one met, in the murky years of childhood, through the bars of a colorful crib. I do not know how to respond to this foreigner. What vernacular does he speak in? And my humor, it sounds all to stale for his tastes. I feel embarrassed at myself. This place of perpetual motion seems to hold no room for me. My presence is an obstruction; or else, it is insignificant. Human life meanders around me and human words float beyond my grasp. Perhaps I should stop speaking altogether and wait till this metaphysical absurdity passes.