The Social Mirror

Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
reflect my face upon my call.
tell me am I fair or sweet?
tell me am I kind or neat?
never fail me, dearest friend,
Social Justice be your end.

I have become a bit of an oddity.

In my younger days I noticed that I had inherited from my grandmother an odd linguistic trait. It's a sort of fluidity of accent that I employ in the present of those I respect or admire. I pick up little portions of their speech patterns, idiosyncracies, or even mannerisms.

A couple of years ago, as I changed the way I related to women, what advice I gave, and what I wore, I also began to change the way I interacted, socially, with certain types of characters.

I became a social mirror. I reflect people's attitudes and character traits. I have become a sort of living inversion of the Golden Rule. I treat people the way they treat others, even if it is not my normal style.

This has become a difficult trait to live with at times. I have offended more than one friend by giving them a dose of their own medicine and having them become outraged that I would treat them that way. This hypocrisy, while frustrating, is often inevitable and they don't mean anything by it. They just don't realize they treat people the way they do.

It has become especially obvious in the case of a certain ex of mine, EKG. When we were together, I was a bit neurotic in my devotion. But we split up under tumultuous circumstances (I cheated on her. . .whoops) and the result was a very deep rift between us.

We began to reflect each other's characteristics. The way we treated each other became more and more cruel and sadistic. With each new insult or fresh cut-down (for we continued to see each other socially and as "friends" for months) we would dig slightly deeper trenches and become slightly less kind.

It was a sad state of affairs that has recently been revived. I saw her for the first time in a year yesterday. It was enlightening, to say the least, and a year of water under the bridge has given me insight that I lacked last summer. Because she was under a ridiculous level of stress we found ourselves immediately falling back into our same roles from last summer. Petty social scrabbling. Our exchanges degenerated into mean digs at eachother's taste in fashion, criticism of our choices, and other minor critiques.

And yet under it all I found myself remembering how kind she had once been to me, and how kind I had once been to her. How different we had once hoped to be and how surely we had failed.

I am still a social mirror, but I am more aware of it now than I was a year ago. It is a trait I can harness and control and even reject if the need is great. I hope to do so now, and to find with her, not reunion, but at least some closure and maybe even a moment of kindness between the two of us is not impossible.

Friday, August 12, 2005


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