Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Hairy Eyeball

So, today at work was my official inspection. I had yet another gentleman walking behind me with the clipboard and a handheld computer. The funniest part of my day was when I was, once again, delivering to my old age housing. Thank you Mr. R.

Mr. R and his wife are some very friendly customers. He tends to meet me at the door, hand me his outgoing mail, and take in their mail three or four times during the six-day delivery week. Generally, if Mr. R fails to meet me at the door then Mrs. R at least calls out a 'hello', 'good morning', or some other friendly phrase. The two of them are polite, happy, and almost always bring a smile to my face.

This brings us to today. Mr. R opened the storm door as I climbed the stairs, calling out his usual "Hey, what you say!" Just as I hit the top step I saw him glance to his left and notice today's Inspector. The Inspector was waiting for me down on the grass, clipboard and computer quite evident. Mr. R gave him a slow once over, and I heard him grunt "uh-oh".

I walked across the porch, accepted one outgoing letter from Mr. R and handed him today's mail. He didn't look at me as I did this, his entire attention taken up by the man on his lawn.

The man with the clipboard.

As I turned and headed back to the stairs I heard Inspector say "Good morning!" His voice was bright and obviously cheerful. Then I heard Mr. R's response.


It was only one word, hell, one syllable, but it was delivered in a very flat voice. An over loud voice, so there could be no mistaking the tone.

Mr. R did not approve.

When I looked back I saw Mr. R giving Inspector the hairy eyeball.

No one gives the hairy eyeball like Mr. R.

Mr. R is a small, old Italian man. He does not have what they call a 'unibrow', rather he has a matched set of slightly bushy, somewhat powerful, and extremely expressive eyebrows. He has dark eyes, and a strong nose. What he lacks, is teeth.

When I look back, I saw Mr. R still holding the storm door open, his body having settled into position. Arms folded across his chest, shoulders set, legs not exactly slouched, but relaxed. A stance that says 'I am fully prepared to stay here all day'. Atop this resolute stance was perched a face magnificently suited for giving the hairy eyeball.

Those extremely expressive eyebrows were drawn down to form a unibrow that stood out like a shelf from his fore head. His jaw was drawn up tight in disapproval, lips pulled in. His jaw was drawn up quite far, in fact, due to his lack of teeth. His lips were pulled in so tight it was as if his face close up like a fist. His strong nose looked even stronger protruding from that creased mask of displeasure, but it had nothing on his eye.

His right eye was squeezed shut in a wink, but there was nothing sly or fun-loving in the gesture. The eye seemed to have been pressed shut by the weight of that powerful eyebrow. It did seem that there was some kind of pressure involved, since the other eye, the eye toward Inspector had bulged out to twice its normal size. It was huge, the curve of it spilling out beyond the border of that shelf of brow, dark iris surrounding a pupil both large and black.

That pupil was trained on Inspector like a cannon mounted on some great ship. Mr. R did not move and his stare did not waver as I descended the stairs and Inspector began to follow me on to the next unit. As we walked I could feel the force of that stare against my back, and I was not even its target. Its malignant power washed over Inspector as he walked, pouring around him to slap against my back, turning me into some sort of odd collateral damage.

When they coined the phrase 'if looks could kill', I'm fairly certain they had Mr. R specifically in mind.

I don't know how Inspector survived.

Talk to you later!

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