Buses have cameras now. Loads of them. They have a screen downstairs and you can spend your time checking the different views and looking round to see who is where. Then you see some bloke from some angle you can’t quite work out craning his neck for some reason. Just a minute. It’s not me, is it, that bloke? Ouch. It is. It’s me.
That’s the way it is when you see yourself. It’s never really you. Photographs freeze you in unnatural poses. You see, I’m not photogenic, me. My charm only reveals itself in motion. You need to see me in action to get the full flavour.
With recordings it’s even worse. You hear your own voice. Who is that pompous twit? I remember hearing myself on a recording once pronouncing the word ‘self’ over-emphasizing the ‘l’ as though I were John Gielgud in a 1930s production of ‘Much Ado about Nothing’. Is that me?
When you look at yourself in a mirror you are never really seeing yourself. You see yourself as you once were, that time that you have fixed in your mind as being how you are, which may date from ten years ago. And when you look, you scan for specific details, the details you always check about yourself. My posture; my hair; that funny bump in my nose that I once saw years ago and that I always check for. With the result being that you never see the whole. How do others see me? This is an eternal question. Who in this gym or on this bus am I the equivalent of? I mean, that bloke on the bus, he looks pretty cool, doesn’t he?