“I’ve been looking for you,” said the handsome stranger in the coffee shop, staring straight through me to a fellow standing to my left.
“How’s it going?” queried stranger #2, without moving, apparently confident that both his voice and his dimpled grin would pass easily through my personal space (and my body).
This sort of thing happens to me all the time. In the grocery store, people frequently stop their carts directly in front of mine and begin perusing through the shelves, apparently blind to my presence. Whole groups step in front of me in lineups and I have lost count of how many times drivers have nearly run me over at crosswalks. Clearly, I am becoming invisible. It is the only explanation.
I have no idea when I acquired this superpower and am therefore unable to control it (hence the life-threatening problem of not being seen at crosswalks). But as soon as I figure out how to turn it off and on I am going to begin a lucrative crime spree. Think of it… bank vaults, jewelry displays, dressing rooms at American Eagle… I will be able to casually enter and leave anywhere I like, without detection.
In addition to the significant (and tax-free!) income gathered through my criminal activities, I will also save a fortune on clothes, make up, haircuts, etc. because wardrobe and personal primping seem unnecessary if I am to be consistently invisible. I have begun experimenting with this already. Last night I went to the drug store in my pajama bottoms with zit cream on full display (yes, middle-aged women still get zits) and absolutely no one batted an eye. In fact, the only time I appear to have been ‘seen’ was when I coughed loudly at the checkout, a deliberate action which was necessary to indicate my existence to the young cashier. This is another example of my invisibility… I can stand for hours at a cash register without drawing the attention of retail staff.
There are considerable benefits to my newfound status as the Invisible Woman. I can pick my nose in public (although I would not because public nose pickers are GROSS). I can eat anything I like because who cares how much you weigh when no one sees you? (And don’t give me that bullshit about how you stay in shape for the ‘health benefits’ because we all know that’s a bold faced lie. Alone on a desert island with 100 pies and 100 pieces of fruit, we would all be full of sweetened goodness and surrounded in rotting citrus). Most importantly, as the Invisible Woman, I can look at other people in any way I like. Got a bunch of piercings in your nose or some strange tattoo running up your leg? I’m gonna gawk at it!
As I stand in the coffee shop line up, letting the conversation of two complete strangers pass through me like a breeze, I am feeling comfortable in my invisibility. It’s not so bad, really. Then stranger #1 makes the fatal error of tossing out the F word. Now, personally, I love the F word. It’s one of the most satisfying adjectives in the English language. But to have it cast about you with seemingly no context is jarring. “F#%#-ing great, man” is the phrase that hit me – an illogical, nonsense use of the term that added absolutely nothing to their exchange.
“Were you raised by wolves?” I shouted out. “There are children in this place!” And there I was… visible again and wielding yet another superpower… Middle-aged Mom Power. This is, in fact, the most awesome power to have because it renders anyone who has a mother powerless to your rage. In that moment, those two strangers saw me but they heard the voices of their own mothers. They felt the universal glare of mothers everywhere, threatening to wash their dirty mouths out with soap. Stranger #1 mumbled a sorry. Stranger #2 lowered his head.
Maybe my invisibility is just the flip side of my Middle-Aged Mom Power. Because who really notices their mom until they need something? That’s just how it works. We go about our days unseen until a need arises and then… whammy…there we are…ready to battle the forces of potty mouth, or produce a bandaid from our bottomless purses!