These kids are blessed with terrific good looks–tall and straight, with big dark eyes, glossy hair and a movie staffs smile-but this wasn’t what was turning heads. Some of these kids were not actually walking towards the line at McDonalds; some were running and somehow skipping at the same time. And the kids were looking and smiling directly at everyone they passed with their fingers in their ears, their elbows flared out on either side. And, further baffling the bourgeoisie, they occasionally stopped and flapped their hands. I was all too aware of the faces of the people we passed.Order now
Some smiled, even laughed appreciatively, at their obvious joy at McDonalds. Some nodded to me sadly and knowingly: ;Ah, I know how hard their lives are,; they seemed to say. Some flinched in exaggerated horror as though from some ghastly space alien from Warner Brothers. Others were cool, spotted them far off and pretended not to see them when they passed. Still others were so used to such surpassing weirdness that our little show came nowhere near their threshold of surprise.
One reaction, however, was more puzzling to me than all the others.
I have come to think of it as ;The Look.; The passerby’s face becomes still and thoughtful. The eyes become narrow, like those of the cunning psychiatrist in an old movie when he asks a patient what the inkblots look like. A hand goes up to the lips and, shifting into field anthropologist mode, the eyewitness stops and stares and nods silently as though making a mental note to write this one down in the journal. It’s a locked-on-target look. A piano falling onto the pavement nearby wouldn’t jar the stunning logical processes at work.
Having been upset by “The Look” about a thousand times, and being something of an amateur field anthropologist myself, I have often asked this question: “Why do these people act this way?” The best answers that I have been able to come up with are these:
(a) They are heartless and rude and should be tortured in some hideous way for upsetting a really nice teacher.
(b) They are ignorant and think that humans come in solidly “normal” and “abnormal” forms and have no doubt about what kind they themselves are.
(c) They saw the movie “Rain Man” and are now experts on Autism Essay.
(d) They are fearful and are trying to achieve distance from a scary sight by trying to regard it as a rare scientific phenomenon.
(e) They are curious, as anyone would be, too, in their situation, at seeing normal-looking children acting strangely.
(f) They aren’t even aware that they have an expression on their faces and actually feel sympathetic toward the boy.
(g) They really are psychiatrists, and their work is a big help to humanity. Which answer I choose is largely dependent on my mood. If I’m feeling defensive and hypersensitive (most of the time), I gravitate toward letters a, b and c. If I’m feeling wise and magnanimous (not very often), I go for letters d, e and f. And I’m feeling lighthearted (rarely), I amuse myself with some variation of g.
But I know that I can conjecture forever and never really be sure what “The Look” means.
One thing I am sure of is the looks on the kids’ faces. Unable to talk normally, they deploy a heavy arsenal of expression and movement to communicate. The beaming smiles, the direct gazes, the skip-running, and shout-singing tells me that the children are working their audiences hard. ;Here I am! Look at me! I’m having fun! Aren’t you impressed?; The message goes out, and some people, remarkably, seem to pick it up. Most, understandably, do not.
But what about my facemy look.
So I’m more conscious on my look. I’m shooting for, at minimum, a near-frequent smile. I want to face the parade as the students do, with joy and hope and, most important of all, with a saving sense of fun. .