Thursday, March 20, 2003


Crytoscopophilia


Why does everyone keep staring in my house, as if I’d redecorated it lavishly, or deep-bedded secrets had carelessly been left for all to glimpse at in the hallway? The way they crane their necks around the door you’d swear the truth itself was spread across the interior.

I keep cursing at my neighbours, yet they barely seem to notice.

I also keep chasing boys down the street kicking them up their arses after they stroll by and dismissively point inside my house, as I toddle down the steps, and say to themselves, that’s where the smelly guy lives, as if I can’t hear them loud and clear. Watch your mouth! I roar at them through the streets.

This show of emotion and carry-on has of course given me something of a name for myself; which in turn means more people peering their heads in to catch a glimpse of the innards of a domesticated man. Now hordes of children gather round the windows as I fry my omelettes. ‘F*** off!’ I roar. I jump out the door and scream. They scream in delight and tear off down and around the corner. They believe its some kind of game. Just as I get back to flipping my omelette they come back, grins cocked and ready. I recall doing the same to a gorilla in Dublin Zoo when I was 9.

I found an old woman peering through my shutters when I got back last night.
‘Excuse me’ I said respectfully.
‘Tell me’ She said curiously, ‘Is this where the mad fellow lives?’

People ring the doorbell just to see me emerge. People wait on my steps just to say hello. I have become a notorious spectacle. I just can’t figure out why. Everything came to a head when I saw a man collecting tickets and then beginning a speech introducing my house and a quick history of myself. It appears I was on the tour of local history and curios, along with the plane that crashed around the corner during the War.
‘Behold…’ He bellowed with great dramatic effect, ‘The house of the solitary man who we know so little of.’

I heard questions fired at him.
‘How tall is he?’
‘What does he eat?’
‘Does he wear clothes?’
‘Is there a woman in his life?’

The next thing I knew I had him on the ground, my veins were pulsating, my teeth gritted, my hand was on his throat, I had him pinned to the ground and was intent on killing him. Then I saw an ear drop beside me on the ground and I realised it was my own. Thirty or so other civilians were coming down on me with sticks, stones and fists. I looked at my own blood as I lay on face down in it, I felt life spilling from me and I wondered would I live to see my tax back.

I ended up in hospital, alive, if not well. I had been wrapped in bandages and plaster from head to foot. Everyday the nurses came in and spoon-fed me like I was a million years old and as delicate as a spider’s web. They looked at me with bland sympathetic eyes. I appreciated the anonymity, being wrapped so comprehensively.

Before long they debandaged me, to some degree, and sent me home on the city link bus with no crutches. I felt like asking one of the nurses out, yet I felt silly, as she’d never even seen my face.

When I arrived home I found my house to be there as expected. Where else could it be, I suppose? I stepped inside and closed the door gently as if I was tiptoeing gingerly into my room trying not to disturb my parents. I looked out the window and saw a labourer gaping at me with a huge grin on his face.

I wondered should I add another floor to my house. There I wouldn’t be spotted, for a little while, until he climbed the scaffolding.

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