Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Bucket of Truth

To be honest, I had reservations about moving to Los Angeles. It has a lot to offer, sure, but accessing these offerings can pose problems I wouldn’t face in the other cities I could have moved to. Waiting for long lines of movie stars to cross the street, for example. It’s a hassle. And Reese Witherspoon has spit in my face on three separate occasions, once without provocation. That being said, Los Angeles also offers certain advantages. For example, I live in an apartment I would never have found in San Francisco or New York. No exaggeration: This set-up simply does not exist in those more compact cities, and certainly not at the price I’m paying now. I love it. And my love for this apartment is probably crippling my social life, solely because my end game is always to come back to it.

However, this apartment is not all perfect. It isn’t haunted — which is what I assumed would be the case when the landlady quoted me the price — but it does have a certain sinister presence. It’s the mirror.

Are you familiar with the Upright Citizens Brigade? The TV show? Specifically the pilot? It concerns a house that features a Bucket of Truth, a simple plastic pail on a pedestal that, when you gaze into it, offers you an unyielding glimpse at your actual self. The result of such perception is hysterical screaming, because no one can comprehend a completely honest vision of themselves without their psyche shattering. (Go buy the DVD. You won’t regret it. The house in the episode also features a Hot Chicks Room.) My apartment essentially has this in the form of the bathroom mirror. Something about the positioning of the mirror beneath the fluorescent light just happens to make anyone, everyone, you, me and your supermodel friend all look like roasted shit.

No lie: The week I moved in, I was under the perception I had given myself two black eyes and then had somehow forgotten that either one had happened. They weren’t at all noticeable when I saw myself in other mirrors. I erroneously assumed that these mirrors were all broken. Now I understand that the fault lies in my mirror, which is probably cursed. In addition to the it making my face appear to be about six different colors — black, blue, occasionally yellow and always least three shades of red — it highlights every dermatological imperfection, every stray facial hair, every single goddamn pore. The pimple that went away months ago? Its wraith still festers on your face when you look at yourself in my bathroom mirror. Shadows are deepened. Oil shines. The basic configuration of your maxilla actually changes, so that the right shifts away from the left, droops down and turns you into some kind of radically asymmetrical monster. It’s fucking brutal.

It’s not completely disadvantageous, really. If I can make yourself look halfway passable, I’ll eventually see my reflection somewhere else and be delighted at how non-ogre-like I look. But even looking forward to that possibility, I still must work up courage to step into the bathroom and now that my confidence will take a critical hit.

So that’s the story with my new apartment and the dark secret it holds. I mean, there was that one time when I woke up in the middle of the night and used the bathroom and my reflection had glowing red eyes and swore at me, but that was probably a dream, right? Right?

Yeah, seriously, I hate my bathroom mirror.

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