Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Last Year of Life

Day 27. Sixth St. 8:45AM
I see the homeless man, Ozzie I call him, as I’m walking up the steps to the office building. We probably haven’t showered in the same amount of time. I look like shit, unkempt with a taste of soot in my sticking mouth. I feel like shit ran over twice from all the strong drink still swirling down in my guts. Oz-man has streams of snot that are frozen beneath his nostrils like lines on a road map. He smiles my way, recognizes me as one of the good ones. I’ve brought him a few stray pastries in my tenure at the company. I look at his face, study it. There is an actual numeric ratio that determines beauty in a human body, and, specifically, a human face. It’s 1:1.618. It is a universal truth that people displaying that ratio in their facial features are more appealing to other humans. They are usually the ones that are more successful, too. The nose to mouth ratio is 1:1.618. The mouth to cheek ratio is 1:1.618. The forehead to jaw ratio is 1:1.618. And you can keep going. Check it out, it works. Numbers explain things. Ozzie’s facial ratios are moderately askew, certainly enough for it to matter in the grander scheme of daily existence. I would say that he has been naturally disregarded for the majority of his life. Tossed aside. He’s curled up in some stray cardboard, laying prostrate, looking like a dirty burrito. There is a large vent spewing warm air directly above him, otherwise he would not have survived the sudden freeze that came upon the city in the past couple of days. He was forced to move his ‘home’ across the street to be in front of the vent. What luck for him to find it, though! He has succeeded. He has adapted to change like every other creature has to adapt. His fight reflex is not dead, even despite his meager situation. Am I as strong as Ozzie? Could I survive? Would I find the vent? I am not trivializing his position in the least, but rather praising him as a surviving, sustaining being. Why does he keep going? I feel like switching places with him. I hear a nag that starts in the back of my throat; it says to ask him if he would like to sleep in my apartment when I am gone. I hear my mother and my school saying don’t talk to strangers, as mothers and schools say. I walk in and close the door behind me, hear the staccato chirping of the paper copiers, catch a whiff of a strawberry frosted one burning in the employee toaster. I’ll draw a blank expression and will be harshly reprimanded for missing work yesterday without providing any sort of excuse. And I will be dead in less than a year. Something must transform.

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