It is all to often debated what sets humans apart the other species, and that will not be agreed any time soon (which a cynic would note is one such thing itself).
Freud would claim it is only our ego, our sense of self, which may explain why people are so capable of being self- ish, and I suspect he was certain he was wholly correct but I would give him only partial credit.
It is far simpler than that: record your voice, record a Sandhill crane and play them back and I assure you that you will say you sound nothing like what the recorder heard while the crane will nervously look all around for his unseen kin.
She says every woman should own a little black dress, and during the time she tries them on I am thinking what she meant was every man should be married to and in love with a woman who wears a little black dress as well as she does, but I say It looks really nice on you, You should buy it, and I think, I will find events to which you can where it frequently, because it looks so good on you, and you in that little black dress make me look so good standing next to you, and men, although they will never admit it, are all so often about reflected glory.
He cannot be certain when he lost it. He isn’t even sure where he lost it. He knew he had it, had it for years, and then, once when he looked for it, it was nowhere to be found. He wasn’t all that upset at the loss. It was more that it was familiar, that he was accustomed to it, not that it had in intrinsic or extrinsic value. In fact, he had already replaced it the moment he noticed it was missing. Still he couldn’t help but wonder where it had gone, and why he hadn’t noticed its loss at the moment it occurred. Or had he? But ego could be like that, and it was comforting to know the replacements were stacked up and waiting.
The last time we spoke you asked me when the end was coming. I didn’t have a good answer for you, wasn’t even quite sure what you meant by the question, the end of what? Of time, of your life or mine, or merely the end of a conversation we had been carrying on for as long as either of us could remember. That was some time ago and I have thought about your question quite frequently and seeing you today, you walking by me without acknowledging me, I realize the answer should have been and most certainly now is that the end came the moment you started your question.
She said, “I truly think that a large part of your problem is that you spend too much time thinking about what other people think of you.” He wasn’t inclined to agree, but she did think that so he had to give it consideration. “I don’t think so,” he replied, “but if you think so, then perhaps.” “What I think doesn’t matter,” she said, smiling, “I remember some of the best advice I have ever been given, ‘What other people think of me is simply none of my business.'”
She’s getting downright boring, every night lying up there, staring down when she decides to part the clouds, saying nothing, as though all of the words of praise for her must come for us, unreturned. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by her vanity, it is why, after all, she is up there now, unable to move and we have to accept that our words are small salve to her when the gods invert her, and she is left to gaze down upon us in her mirror when she bothers to stop gazing at her own image, but she says, “I have all eternity, Poseidon be damned.”
I read a poem today about a cat and the memory of my last cat came to mind, and with it, the certainty that cats have an innate sense of people which people utterly lack. It may be that cats are completely ignorant of the masks we wear, or simply that they could care less how we see ourselves and only measure us by what we offer them. In that sense, of course they are people as well.
A foolish man sits at the edge of the pond, his feet perfectly still in the water. He stares into the mirrored surface and sees a fool, smiles as a ginkgo leaf floats like a sail on a morning breeze onto the pool, ripples radiate out, touching his toes and he smiles, and the fool lying beneath smiles.
A foolish man stands in the road, staring into the pavement, transfixed. He stares into the silvered sheen left by a morning rain and sees a man of substance in fine clothes, and man servants awaiting a command, and he smiles, and walks on with the man of substance on a road with no end leading nowhere.