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Friday, August 12, 2011

Winks, Twitches and Spoken Words

    Some people go so far as to state that the eyes are the doors to the soul. If that's true, I'm glad that when God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.

   Should I get myself ready for an obligatory feeling of mortification, when I say that eyes aren't all that big to me? Of course I recognise a frown, a squint or the little wrinkles that appear when someone's teasing me. But in general I think eyes are just like marbles: little round things with a coloured layer. The main thing that I see mirrored in them is myself.

   After I've established the colour of the iris of the person I'm talking to, my attention always moves a few inches lower. And there it stays for a long time. A person's mouth fascinates me. Not just the shape, but also the articulation, the muscle tone in the lips, the assymetry in the movements. How does it show anger or a laugh? What about someone's lips curving upward, like angel wings, into a smile ?   Or what I like best: a subtle twitch at the corner of the mouth, preferably on one side only.  The dead give away that this person shares my sense of humour.

  If eyes are the doors to the soul, then the mouth is at least a french window.

   And what about a persons hands? I don't mean the shape, though palmistry is the -supposed-  science of telling one's character based on the shape of ones hand.   No, I mean, how well are they taken care of, how are they used?  Do they participate in the speakers debate or do they dance a little jig of their own?
Are the hands open and relaxed, or clenched? What do they touch, how do they do that? Or are they tucked so deeply into the pockets of a coat or jeans, that you may assume this person is ready to migrate?
    Who has time to look at eyes when one can study hands and mouths?

... during a work meeting

   Oh, and there's another window to the soul of your companion. One that doesn't need the eyes of the beholder.  To you it may seem a tiny window,  but I crawl through it very often.  It's the voice.
   I have a life long habit of not looking at a speaker, when I'm in a group. When I attended college, I used to write letters in the mean time. During meetings at work I made drawings. And during parents teacher meetings my eyes are magnetically drawn to my shoes.  I've been doing some experiments lately, forcing myself to look at the speaker or other group members instead of doing one of the above. I noticed a difference: when not looking at people, I can focus better on what I hear. Even while drawing or writing letters.
   And I don't just mean the words the speaker chooses. When focussing on paper or some other lifeless object, I can discern a myriad of subtle changes in intonation, timbre and volume of a voice. I can't do it half as well, while looking at people.

.  I guess that's where my weird habit comes from, I've got quite a collection of films and TV-series ...  as audio recordings. Jokingly I refer to it as my "video store for the blind".
   I usually watch TV in fragments. Hey, new voice! Let's see what this persons looks like. Than I tend to my knitting, ironing, sewing -whatever-  again  and just listen. In pre-video days I wanted to hold on to some of those programs and started to record them on audio tapes.
   Nowadays I'm into buying DVDs. It started because my son has trouble reading and I don't want him to miss out on the healing effects of well told stories. We've watched 'Horton the Elefant' and 'The Mighty' over and over during a certain hard time we went through.
   To me these DVDs serve a different  purpose. Since I know I have SPD I started to look differently at body language. I never liked the rather superficial works that focus on one person only . (To be honest, I think those writings are boring and a bit 'bogus')  Body language is a dialogue between two -or more-  persons. Action and reaction, synergy.   And that is what I look for now, when playing a DVD.
   However... occasionally I run into a film that actually makes good 'listening material'. I burn that one on CD, reviving my 'video store habit'.   A small homage to that tiny window to the soul, not through the eye.  

    Even if it would happen only once, I would love to join some casting directors at an audition. All I would do, is stare at my shoes.

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