I lay in bed thinking of all the lonely people wearing masks, hiding a face they keep in a jar by the door when it occurs to me this time we live in does not reflect a 1966 Beatles lyric from Eleanor Rigby we but instead something Billy Idol recorded in 1983, Eyes Without A Face.
I’m all out of hope
One more bad dream
Could bring a fall
When I’m far from home
Don’t call me on the phone
To tell me you’re alone…
(Les yeux sans visage)
Eyes without a face
After some looking I find that the title refers to a 1960 French horror film, Les Yeux Sans Visage. Much like Psycho became part of the fabric of the culture in the United States I hypothesize the French began banning facial coverings out of a latent horror of such things. Their government tried to explain it away for more concrete reasons but it never really worked out.
A claim of freedom for women looked much more like a bungled security effort but all in all sounded anti-religious. But now everything is on its head, and facial masks cover us out of sheer fear of each other, rather than prohibiting them for the same reason.
I certainly hope these masks do not become a permanent requirement. It is tiresome to don them before entry to any public place. Worse, one cannot really read people or how they are relating. Sometimes body language and tone of voice tell all.
The grocery store feels like a zombie apocalypse. Like the French ban on facial scarves now seemingly like a hopeless indulgence the “green” value of bringing ones own shopping bag to the store now promotes an angry rejection from the clerk. “We do not allow that here!” she shouted at me through her mask yesterday. What is it Marlin Brando repeated as he lay dying in Apocalypse Now ? The horror, the horror.