She’s wearing tight bleached jeans tucked into cowboy boots, walks fast on wide strides of her short legs and then stands at the counter of a coffee shop with her feet far apart, hips thrown forward and left naked by the low cut of her pants, gesturing wildly of her left arm while unconsciously playing with her long blond hair with the right hand. She’s pretty, she knows it and she’s banking on it…
He wears his pants so low below the hips that it’s a wonder gravity hasn’t yet taken over and sent them down to his anckles. A skateboard in one hand and an old army back pack in the other, he walks past the people around him, not so much self-assured than, maybe, defiant. His hair is wild, his nails dirty and his sweater baggy, but the running shoes are new and expensive.
They pass by in a tight cluster of laughter and giggles, hand in front of their mouths and noses as if laughing was a sin to be hidden. They have given up on any Asian clothing and wear the international youth jeans uniform. But girls will be girls and culture is hardly left behind, so they are all almost running, taking short dragging steps, their feet landing flat on the ground as if still wearing wooden scandals.
The man strides elegantly down the busy street, wearing a well cut suit and Italian shoes. A Bluetooth earpiece is attached to his head and he talks loudly to an invisible business partner, unaware or unconcerned that his voice might cover the concert of street noises. He is looking straight ahead, glancing at the traffic lights, negotiating his way to a meeting the same way he will handle the deal itself: carefully but with a touch of detachment. He ignores passers by, except maybe for this beautiful woman to whom he smiles and who smiles back. They are both wealthy and can relate on that level; members of a select club, a secret society that has no real desire for secrecy and actually enjoys displaying its assets.
Late on that same night, in the darkness of a busy night club’s dance floor, they are all dancing wildly to a popular techno beat, pretending or honestly believing that they are themselves.
What do all these people have in common? They are all, to some extent, playing a role and wearing a mask. Their own mask. A carefully crafted character based on the subtly combined influences of society’s rules and directives, family and cultural input, media conditioning and hopefully, a touch of individuality.
We are all actors in our own lives, it seems, whether we are willing to admit it or not. The difference between us and Hollywood’s cast is that we are never off-stage and can never redo a scene. We can’t shout "Cut!" and "Action!" again. We play our role 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for as long as we walk the face of this Earth. We have this idea of who we ought to be, and we do our very best to stick to the part. Rarely, however, does the role come easily.
The ultimate goal in life could then be, if I have this right, to finally fusion the role to the underlying reality. To become one with who we wanted to be. To stop having to act and start just being there. To grow tall enough that no acting could possibly top our personality.
I wonder if one feels lonely, once walking through life surrounded by actors and yet not having a part to play. Or does the movie suddenly reach its apogee and take us in?