Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mister Cellophane

Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
'Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know
I'm there...
--Mr. Cellophane, Chicago, the musical
Ever now and then I get these bouts of invisibility that are seriously exacerbated as I age. Last week I was meeting with my boss in her office when my cell phone rang. It was my boss’ admin calling to see why I wasn’t showing up for my meeting with my boss. I told her I was sitting right next to my boss in her office which was right across from her desk. She said, “Oh, I looked in and didn’t see you.”

I am invisible.

I think my gray hair is partially responsible. Or maybe it is the wrinkles around my eyes. Perhaps it is the spare tire around my waist. I stand in line for coffee and the 20-somethings behind the cash register look right through me to wait on the 20-something geeks who work for next door.

It does not bother me so much that I am invisible when I ride the train to and from work. Most everyone is invisible on public transit. And perhaps it is better that I am invisible as I sweat on the elliptical machine at the gym.

Still I wonder when my photograph began to fade. I think it was when I turned 40. I cringe when I think how transparent I will become when I hit 50 next year.

Perhaps invisibility is the reason many people start dressing eccentric chic as they age. Maybe that flash of color or odd hat will catch the attention of the visible world. I did see the old Asian woman in the plaza this morning doing Tai Chi with a Stihl Chainsaw cap on. But maybe I could see her because we were in the same invisible realm.

I suppose it isn’t just aging that makes people invisible. The mentally ill and the street people are invisible. I think that is why many of them shout out there presence. Ironically, the louder they shout, the more invisible they become.

Invisibility is funny that way.


Anonymous said...

The thing about being invisible (for me) is that I am learning to use my brain to get what I need vs. letting my aging appearance do it for me. I have not become invisible yet, but do find that I am preparing myself for that fateful day by speaking up more often than I did when I was young and trendy. I find that I now direct people to do my bidding in an assertive manner (with a smile) and always seem to get what I want because although I am not a hot, 20-something-year-old, I do know what I want, I am a good polite customer and it is hard for the guy behind the Starbuck's counter to argue with, "Excuse me, I'm next in line and would like a grande latte with whole milk. Thank you."

For now, it's working.

Kindness said...

" ."

Kindness said...

Oh... I tried to be completely invisible and it didn't work!

Naughti Biscotti said...

Ahhh haaa!!! So, that's why the guy had pink hair. It makes perfect sense now.

I'm only 37 but have already started to experience invisibility. I may be invisible but I must give off some sort of rotten egg scent to draw attention to myself. The 20 somethings always look at me with their noses all crinkled up, peering down at me from their deeply tanned, toned, and far superior high horse.

Lights in the wake said...

Just remember, you're only figuratively invisible. Security cameras can still see you.

Isabella said...

Fantastic post Tim. I still seem to be able to command a degree of visibility but I'm sure my car has an invisible cloak around it. No-one ever seems to see it as they pull out in front, cut me off and almost run me off the road.

I think many a mid life crisis has probably been triggered by the invisibility factor. It must be quite crushing to feel like you're not even there.

Time said...

Miss Bliss,
Perhaps we should be invisible when we are young so we learn that skill first. Come to think of it, I was a band geek and pretty invisible then, too.

I knew it was you.

Shandi, You young whippersnapper. Don't go invisible until you have to. And I do think the poor old guy with pink hair just wanted to be seen. Pity the fool.

I just take off my clothes. If the security cameras can see me, I'm sure the guards turn away.

Everyone is invisible in a car. That's why so many pick their noses when they drive.

I don't think my invisibility is part of a mid-life crisis. I think it is just part of mid-life. And I don't always mind being invisible.

Isabella said...

Oh I know you're not having a mid life crisis Tim, you are way too sensible to go down that road. I imagine it could be a lot of fun to really be invisible......or maybe not. It could be a case of TMI.

BlazngScarlet said...

Some days, I enjoy my invisibility.
It allows me way more freedom to do as I please.

Time said...

Being literally invisible would have its advantages.

I didn't even see you come in.

R. said...

“Oh, I looked in and didn’t see you.”

She could have looked in the boss' office at any point during the day when you weren't present and that statement would be true.

So the question becomes whether or not she looked in the office when you were there. You should have said you were at the zoo and had your boss make animal noises in the background.

I can't ever recall Grandpa being invisible. Of course, being who he was made him very difficult to miss.

Time said...

R. Grandfathers fortunately are visible to their grandchildren, at least until the kids become teenagers.

JP (mom) said...

I love these musings on life and existence ... I guess it just shows that we see what we want to see. ~JP

Hayden said...

wow, thanks for posting that. I knew women turned invisible, but I didn't know it happened to men too.

unfortuneately, having become invisible, I'm becoming lazy and much more likely to dress the part. Bad move.

Anonymous said...

Like Hayden, I thought only women suffered from this woeful state. The fact that men do too gives me hope... who cares about the 20 years olds? Those of us that have crossed over will have our own party.

BlazngScarlet said...

I'm disengaging my invisibility shield to let you know that I have something for you.
But you have to go to my blog to receive it.

G'wan .....

R. said...

tim id
Actually, I was referring to Grandpa in public.

Time said...

I am here to muse and amuse.

Hayden, Kat,
Of course men become invisible. Why do you think they struggle so much to become visible with comb overs, black socks with shorts and pants hiked up to their chests?

Thanks for the major award!

Dad had his share of invisibility in public as well.

anna said...

Hmm... that's interesting, because I notice men in their 40s and 50s MUCH more than I notice men in their 20s and 30s.