My father once told me a story about how he and his cousin Pat would dress up, head out into public and pretend to be other people. Once they put on some plaid shirts, worn-out pants and hiking boots, then went to a local bar to smoke cigars, shoot pool, and pretend to be one of the guys who did that sort of thing seriously. Another time they wore dark sunglasses, rented three piece suits and stood stoic on a street corner, looking like federal agents and generally making people nervous.

I feel like I'm doing that sometimes when I go into public. I wonder how the people around me perceive me, and all the hundreds of tiny little judgments they make about me the moment they set eyes on me. I wonder how exactly I would have to dress in order for people to think I was a millionaire, or a rapist, or a teamster, or a junkie, and just how easily I could utterly convince them I was these things without ever saying a word.

I wonder if they're pretending, too.




Title taken from Bittersweet Symphony, by The Verve

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