Poker Face

I can stare now. Stare, stare, all you want, you’ll find nothing here, nothing in these eyes, these eyes are empty. Just like yours. Empty eyes staring into empty eyes. We can stare all we want all day long, nothing will change, and we will still be complete and utter strangers.

Eyes that speak are vulnerable, that’s what I’ve learned. Undefended eyes are a risk, a danger, to be avoided at all costs. Here you should not feel. Public eyes are stones. Shiny glass marbles that stare blankly into the void. If you see nothing, they can say nothing.

It’s not just my eyes.

My mind and my heart have become numbed. I no longer care, am no longer bothered or affected. I have to fight just to feel. Is this normal? Is this what happens here? Or is it part of some unending cycle – sympathy, empathy, apathy – rage! – when will I feel again, or is this apathy forever? I know it’s not but it sure is blissful.

Is this why we fight emotions here so much, because apathy is easier to live with here than anything else? Que sera sera, and as long as what sera doesn’t matter to me I will be très heureuse, très contente.

It’s a sick and twisted way to live, to not care somewhere where just a little would help so much.

But then I think, can anything new possibly happen? How long do we fight – do we hold steady or fight harder or do we disappear completely? What can possibly change the discourse, the discussion, the debate, the debacle?

Maybe next week I’ll have all the answers.


One thought on “Poker Face

  1. Is this just in Israel?
    Since I’ve been living in Portland, twenty three years (I did all my public schooling up the coast in Brunswick, my father came here in the military and have been away a bit since then), I’ve been working on the theory of the dummy culture, people playing dumb. People aren’t stupid but it is often rational in the short run to play dumb, and such behavior sorts itself into “organizations”–stupidity streamlined. “Smart” means “to hurt” and a stupor is where you feel no pain. As I say, it’s rational in the short run.
    Israel as the triumph of interest politics in “the West” is congratulating itself at having shrunk five hundred years of racist imperial history into a generation, so that now it can look over the ramparts and see its end approaching concealed in a huge cloud of dust.
    I’ll bet you won’t see that stony resignation in the eyes of the few Israelis who actively keep the racist state alive–they’re too busy to be lining up fatal doses of barbiturates on bedside tables wondering, “Will this be the night?” They are the ones who feel the sting of murdering innocents to keep innocence alive. They are the ones who will call a halt to the madness. They never did buy into the idea of collective numbness as the acme of cultural self-expression.
    I’ve been feeling my Englishness today, a part, a role, a character I’ve apparently been learning for fifty five years, loathing that character every day, but being that character because I thought I needed it in order to be someone. I can play the part so well that all the appropriate emotions come tripping off my heart or whatever. But none of it is authentic, or fun, or rational–convention is coming together (com + venire) for no purpose other than being together. It is useful for arbitrary things like “the vehicle on the right has the right of way”, but not otherwise. Knowing perfectly how to act, what to say, what to wear, what to feel is no good if anything at all happens that has not been allowed for in the cultural repertoire–I kissed my niece on the cheek and her face fell off–I felt awful.
    It is a form of the game of chicken (drag racing toward a cliff edge) to stare at the dead-eyed person until she cracks a grin.

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