Friday, May 06, 2005

Unmasked! the man who never closed his mouth. In 1999, the worst year of my life, I had no job apart from working at the crappy market research company, and I felt like my life was going nowhere. I used to fill my days making desultory plans to be a journalist, pretending to write a novel (it was a crime caper set in Melbourne's hospitality underworld - how topical, considering the Bali Nine!) and hanging about in cafes talking shit with my friends.

I kept a journal of this time, and I just searched around for it upstairs, but I can't find it anywhere. Damn, I wish I could quote what I wrote. I was living in East Brunswick and I used to catch trams and trains a lot, which left me plenty of time for journal writing. Sometimes I used to write about the people on the tram, and I was particularly preoccupied with this one guy who would always get on at Glenlyon Rd. He had an extraordinary way of holding his mouth slightly pursed, slightly open. I would stare at him, fascinated, but I never saw him with his mouth closed.

For me, the most fascinating thing was that his mouth wasn't just hanging slackly open; it was as if he'd practised the look in front of a mirror. The look was accentuated by his fleshy lips. When he was reading something, his mouth would hang open a little more. One time, I remember writing triumphantly in the journal: "He was just getting off the tram before, and his mouth was almost closed! IT'S A MIRACLE!"

I still see him around from time to time, and think to myself, "Heh! it's that guy who can't close his mouth!" But I thought nothing more of it until I was looking at the Age website, and there was a picture of him! Unmasked! And the funny thing is, he's looking in a mirror! It's like he's practising his mouth posture!!

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