On Mirrors

Every polished surface conceals a mirror. Whatever shines—the blade of a knife, the curve of another person’s eye—is intent on reflection. Desperate for attention, these things seem to think the best way to get it is to display us to ourselves. Why else would images gather wherever water stops to collect itself? Why else would windows, meant to be transparent, show us pictures of ourselves looking through them? Mirrors are untrustworthy because each one presents a slightly different perspective. They may feign objectivity, but they really can’t resist giving an opinion, playing up imperfections and blemishes, grotesquely magnifying things or cruelly diminishing them. And we can’t resist looking, even though you can never argue with a mirror. It just throws your own words back at you.