A Lesson, with Magic

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May 21, 2014 by lucieromarin

At a bus stop on Saturday, I saw a young man with his girlfriend, both of whom looked as though they’d walked straight out of a Marvel comic in which they featured as recurring characters possessed of magic powers. It wasn’t just the clothing, though the young man’s pointed moustache, shimmering dark blue waistcoat, and carved stick (I suppose it was a walking stick, but he twirled it and jabbed it at the air) were pretty convincing. It was something about their attitude, too – they looked as though they liked thinking about magic, and the only reason they didn’t exhibit any powers was because they didn’t have any.

Suddenly, I felt a wave of irritation. Surely, I thought, all the grown men who go about tricked up in superhero t-shirts or ankle-length black leather jackets must know that we all know that it’s fake? Don’t they realise that, by dressing thus, they actually reinforce the non-existence of their superpowers? And so on. I realised that if you come from a subculture in which a particular costume signifies genuine supernatural power (i.e. the cassock and the habit), the wistful longing of secular costume just seems a bit lame by comparison. So I spent a fair amount of my bus ride being annoyed with a complete stranger for dressing like a magician when he wasn’t one. I even considered blogging on this theme. (Yeah, I’m not saint.)

Today, I went into the city to buy some of those skin care products that I profess not to care about. Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed a street performer, turned to look, and…

it was the magician.

He had a sphere of something clear and luminous between his hands, and was making it sort of roll and float about in the air.

Gah! I assumed a complete stranger dressed like a magician because he was a bit pathetic, when, in fact, he dressed like a magician because he was one.

What a strange way to learn a lesson about judging people too quickly!

Well, I went back sometime later to drop coins into his hat by way of atonement, but he was gone – ousted by a crooning girl with a microphone and loudspeakers. Later, I caught a glimpse of his back, making his way towards Pitt Street, in search, presumably, of a new stage. Either that, or he was headed to an alleyway where he would, with a turn of his wrist, open a door between universes, stepping out of ours and into his. Who knows? I’ve been wrong about him once already.

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