Reading The Blue Clerk, 102

Reading The Blue Clerk, 102

“Verso 24.3”

Here, they scan you from your feet to your head, deciding if you are someone worth cultivating. Sometimes the scan is quick. Furtive. Other times, it lingers. They want you to know that they are scanning you. They want you to know that you are scannable. The press of the social.

The man across from the author is looking at her intently and she wonders if by chance some thought of her has escaped and is floating around her head like a halo.

One avoids what one can, but one is forced to renew this or that, to go to this office or that, to submit to the scrutiny of strangers and the delay of others: and what is your name and when were you born and are you married and do you have children and do you drink tea.

Sometimes, there is kindness. Or, something that is not indifference or hostility, so it feels like kindness. But, still, you have to fill in the forms again and again, identify all the ways the state has made you identifiable.

It is this enforcer sitting here casually, quite casually, who carries out the daily work of bringing people like me into line.

Yes. Policing is shared. The glances line you up. The frowns mark you out. The sympathy between two strangers who bond over their disapproval of you.

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