I always pull up on the side of The Council Thrift Shop building, so I only knew of the featureless woman and the narcoleptic man. On Sunday I passed by the front and gasped. More.
Two more women, in fact, not donating but shopping. One tries on a coat that makes her look like a fried tub of butter, and if her companion were a good, solid friend, she would tell the front-most woman so. But look at how the artist renders the woman in the coat without a mouth and the one watching her with the most elaborate facial attribute he's attempted yet. The other people just have dashes, commas, afterthoughts, but this woman has a distinctly articulated upper and bottom lip, the upper in an undeniable smirk. She's going to tell her friend to get that coat. "It does such cute things for your shape!" she'll say. Bizarrely, there appear to be seven more of these coats hanging on the rack. How unusual it is to find multiple quantities in a thrift store; this isn't Loehmann's. Surely the woman with the malicious mouth will advise her "friend" to purchase the whole lot, dumped at the store by a fat camp for yentas (even the most tragic of campers refused to wear them on the "health hike.") She will make this seem like a good idea, purring, "It just flatters you so much-- you wouldn't want to wear your only one out in the wash, would you?"
That the woman in the coat is missing her mouth is most likely a comment on her passivity, her inability to assert not only her own opinions (somewhere deep inside, she knows this coat is a mistake) but her own identity as well. She clasps her hands in front of her hips. She hates these hips. Does this coat hide them? No, this coat adds two hundred pounds to them, but she refuses to trust her truest instincts. She gazes not at her friend, not in the mirror, but at the woman across the shop, the one carrying the box and wearing a similarly zig-zaggy sweater. "She looks better in hers," thinks the mouthless woman. On the back wall a framed picture of an idyllic, hillside cottage, sun shining as bright as can be, trees growing toward what would undoubtedly be a blue sky (had the artist decided to use color) mocks her. The painting depicts the easiest sort of existence. A lie that the world is nothing but a place of beauty. That little house in the sunshine makes the mouthless woman want to cry. Her friend senses this, and sadistically wishes she would.
With the expanded scope of the mural comes the knowledge that the man had better open his eyes because he's about to bump into a vase, sitting precariously on the edge of a dresser. Although-- with the addition of the other women in the illustration, we now realize that everyone in this particular universe operates with his/her eyes closed, so perhaps the man has developed sophisticated, bat-like sonar abilities. Perhaps he is clicking as he moves through the space, and he is able to piece together the interrelations of tangible things using this method. The woman in the coat without the mouth cannot click. Her hips bump into everything around her.
And we now see that it isn't just the clock, but the entire wall that's in a state of stress, those frenetic dashes like a marriage of the ellipsis and the hyphen, shrieking, "Well, now what?! Now what?! Now what?!" Still, the clock continues to move at a faster clip than that which surrounds it, indicated by the longer lines shooting out to the right. The clock drags time. It races across the plaster. It melts the seconds. It tries to abscond from the store.