Thursday, July 04, 2019

People Are Fascinating

I have a thing about watching people and trying to spot their personality sparks. Sometimes, it's just the way someone's mouth looks when they smile or the way they look when they are listening to another person. Way back when I was in junior high school (you know, all those centuries ago), I rode the bus with a girl who had the tiniest dimple on one side of her mouth. Fascinating. And then there was the girl I knew way back in, I don't know, maybe sixth grade who was a really good soccer player. She probably went on to become a pro. I remember that she always stretched her neck from side to side just before she went onto the field to play. She looked so serious and so determined, like a soldier about to go into battle. Myself, I didn't play sports. Still don't.  I was very girly and prissy back then. Still am, mostly. But I was always mesmerized by that one girl. I think her name might have been Tamara.

As old as I am now, I am still fascinated by people. Whenever I see a woman do something that sort of defines her personality - maybe it's the way she moves or the way she laughs - I wonder if there is a thing I do that defines my personality. Lord Jesus, please don't let it be my maniacal laugh...

As far as the opposite sex, there is this thing that some men do that I find so attractive. It's going to sound weird but here goes. You know how when a man is wearing a tie and just before he sits at a table or desk, he smooths his tie and holds it for a moment? That thing, it just makes me shiver. Something about the hands. It's so subtly masculine. I'm the same way about when a man does that hand-to-heart apology motion. Swoon factor, 10. I imagine that men feel the same way about us females crossing our legs or playing with our hair.

One of the older ladies in this building has this thing she does (unconsciously I'm sure) where she touches her husband's wrist when they are sitting and talking. She just lays her fingers on his wrist. It's so sweet and telling. The two of them have to be around 75 or 80 but whenever I see her do that, I can picture them as newlyweds, her so in love that she can't resist touching him. I think that it's actually calming to her these days but, still, it's so beautiful. They really aren't otherwise very publicly affectionate. He's hard of hearing and always looks slightly annoyed at everything.

One of my brothers does this thing where he drums the fingers of one hand against his mouth when he's concentrating. Or scheming. Another of his "sparks" is to throw you a sly sideways look whenever he thinks someone else in the room is talking crap. It's a look that says, "You hearing this?"

Whenever my mother was worried or anxious, she would hum. When she had something heavy on her mind and was lost in thought, she would mutter "huh" as if to say "Oh well." Mostly though, she hummed. If my father was worried, he chewed at the corner of his bottom lip - which is not uncommon. His other quirk drove all of us crazy. Happy, sad, or whatever, if he was sitting, he would prop one leg over the other and shake his foot. It was the most annoying thing. Sitting next to him felt like sharing space with some kind of engine. My younger brother has the same habit.

I have one aunt (who's actually very close to my age) who has a really sweet smile, but it's a closed-mouth smile. You never see her teeth. Even when she's not smiling, she always looks like she's about to smile anyway. Some people have that kind of pleasant expression. Not me. I have resting confused bitch face. The complete opposite of my auntie's resting angelic face.

Talking about my aunt just made me remember a late uncle. He was a sweet man and most of the time, he was jovial and easygoing. He had deep dimples and beautiful hair - shiny and wavy. And he wore an earring back in the early and mid 70's when I didn't see a lot of men wearing that solo earring. He was an alcoholic. He loved his wife and kids and he held down a steady job at the same place for as long as I knew him. For a long time, I thought he was the coolest and happiest guy. I think he was for most of his life, but then, when I was around fourteen or fifteen, I remember being able to see some sadness in his eyes. Even when he was smiling and engaging with the family, that little shade of self-disappointment and weariness was there. He died maybe a year after I first started noticing that he wasn't always happy. I think he knew that his drinking was killing him and he still didn't know how to stop. When I think of him now, I think of his dimples and that smile - the one before the sadness.

We all have our quirks and "sparks" and soul scars that make us unique. I honestly believe that it's our scars that make us beautiful. You know, the way that a little salt makes chocolate taste sweeter? Maybe because our scars make us more human and real.


People are just so very fascinating, aren't they? And it's the small things we do that make us memorable and individual. It's all these small things that will be forgotten years after we are gone. People will maybe know our names because of what we leave behind, but our little sparks will be forgotten.

I'm not sure what all of this means. I guess I'm just so aware of how important part of our existence is while part of it means nothing much long after we are gone. The whole of us may be remembered while the small and beautiful parts of us are forgotten too soon.

I will have to think about all of this some more and if it starts to make sense to me, I'll let you know.

Oh, and by the way, happy Fourth of July.