A Disarming Mime

Five years ago I had a conversation at a bar with a mime. A verbal conversation, mind you. She wasn't in makeup or character, but she did a lot of talking about traveling to different countries to perform with a troop of mimes. It was all pretty bizarre.

And then it got more bizarre. When the mime excused herself to the bathroom, my friend made mention of the mime's missing arm. "What? She's not missing an arm!" I said. "I swear!" my friend said.

Sure enough, when the mime returned, I noticed that her right sleeve was just dangling with nothing in it. She had successfully hidden her missing limb from me in plain sight. I had noticed her gesturing a lot ("That's just like a mime - so expressive with her hands!" I had thought), but failed to pick up on the fact that she was only using one hand.

I wish I had had the guts and/or lack of social grace to ask her a pointed question about her disability. I mean, the choice to be a professional mime in itself is pretty intriguing, but you've really got to wonder how someone takes on a role where she must silently communicate with her hands when she's missing one essential limb. On the one hand, it doesn't make much sense. On the other hand (an expression which seems particularly inappropriate given the subject matter), I bet there's something beautiful about performing within these limitations.

I don't know that I have a point to this story, but I just thought you all should know that, honest-to-gosh, there is an armless mime out there in this funny world of ours. Also, if anyone knows David Lynch, I have a story to pitch to him.

No comments: