i shave everyday except on saturday & holidays. sometimes, if i’ve spent the day at home, but intend on going out in the evening, i won’t shave until late in the afternoon. i do not ‘wear’ the 3 day beard look well; it makes me look haggard & hobo-like, maybe if that look had been popular when i was younger it would’ve been alright, but i’ve always liked the feel of my smoothly shaven cheek (as have others.)
this morning, as i was intent upon my ritual, i stopped halfway through & thought about dick tracy’s arch-enemy prune face as well as herb alpert’s 1965 album “whipped cream & other delights”, letting my mind wander round & round, a whisk in a metal bowl.
i imagine that we all have morning rituals: pour the coffee, listen to the news, read the paper, go online, make the bed, walk the dogs, feed the dogs, brush your teeth, shower, shave (the three esses in a nod to my army dad), dress (all in a pre-ordained order, heaven forbid it should change or one part of it occur out-of-sequence, then your whole morning is ‘ruined’, alas).
but today, today when i actually looked at myself in the mirror & i mean really looked, i caught a glimpse of someone else. obviously not another person, but someone like me, but not. i looked different somehow or maybe i just saw myself differently or in a ‘new light’ as they like to say (trite phrases ‘r’ us, ooh, that’s one too…) & i thought about the nature of the self-portrait (auto-portrait, a term i like even better than ‘self’) & it made me realize that the grand tradition of artists painting themselves (besides being a readily available model, good practice, etc. & so forth) stems from those moments when you see yourself & for once, just at that moment, you are able to see more of you, the inside you, & you want to capture that moment.
so i did. i set down the razor blade. i dried my hands. i turned into the bedroom & my desk & picked up the camera & returned to the mirror & fixed the camera’s settings (it couldn’t have taken but a few seconds) & snapped the two photos posted here.
if you know me & even if you don’t, or perhaps we’re only online acquaintances, i believe you’re seeing me for the first time, like this. it’s a slightly altered version of robert patrick; thoughts swirling, ideas forming, a jigger of emptiness (one can’t be ‘on’ all of the time), a brewing of difference & indifference. rituals oftentimes keep you from self-examination (the dreariness of the same) but aren’t they the door to a more thorough understanding of ourselves?