Almost-face

Had a dream early this morning, 4:30-ish.  I was crouching behind my laundry basket because of a threat of terrorists.  I was traveling abroad at the time.  I heard them coming, chanting “Nagata nagata” very quickly, like machine-gun fire.  I couldn’t quite hide myself behind the basket and one of them came around it.  The “terrorist” was a small and very young Nigerian boy wearing only thin shorts.  He stared at me and at that moment I knew he wasn’t a young boy.  He was something pretending to be a young boy.  I woke up gasping for air.

 

I’m not sure why he had to be Nigerian, or what the chant meant.  Hell, I don’t know what any of it meant.  But I remember with chilling clarity the feeling of looking at something that was almost human—a simulacron.  Imagine a wax figurine that turned its head and smiled as you walked past.  That kind of creepy.

 

The human eye and brain work together to allow for incredibly detailed facial recognition.  The smallest inconsistencies can be noted.  When we see people with radical facial deformation, it can be deeply disturbing and fascinating.  I still remember seeing a boy, maybe early teens, with what looked like elephantitis of the jaw.  His lower face was hugely disproportionate, making him look sort of like the Tick, or American Dad.  What an incredible burden, to provoke such feelings in people by something that was totally beyond your control.

 

If a perfect face is the miniscule center of the dartboard, the outer rings contain all kinds of disturbing.  And if you were an alien terrorist, your imitation probably would fall outside the dartboard altogether.  We humans, we can tell.  Don’t try to fool us.

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Writer, architect, father, husband.

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3 comments on “Almost-face
  1. Babs says:

    I've read somewhere that we only have dreams that are frightening or sad or a result of some anxieties, even minor ones, that we're often not even aware of. We rarely dream about pleasant things or pretty things. Why is that? Don't we have a small place in our brains that can store good, pretty and happy times as well as frightening and anxious times? What is THAT about? I had a dream today that rats were chewing on my wrists–probably just trying to trim them down for me!

  2. SRWood says:

    Too true, too true. My inhuman beauty has frequently been a problem in social situations, as people are either intimidated or incinerated outright by my blinding and freakish handsomeness. What I say is: you regular folk are outside the bull's eye! I am the center of it! I am the center! The center!

  3. psoutowood says:

    Well, the inhuman and freakish parts are right…

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