Friday, August 9, 2013

I should have been a spy

There's a thing about me I don't understand. Actually there are many more than this particular one, my lifelong invisibility. Maybe a better way to say it is that people don't recognize or remember me when we meet a second, third, fourth or even fifth time. An encounter with me does not stick in people's memories. I have a friend in San Francisco who had to be introduced to me every time we met. It went on for years and even became a joke. That was an extreme case of something I experience often. I don't get it. I think I'm rather vivid.

Also should mention that this isn't a recent development. It isn't a case of how old ladies become invisible. No. Even when I was juicy as hell, with purple eggplant hennaed hair and super red lipstick and a young body, even then, when I ran into people I'd seen several times and remembered well, I had to reintroduce myself because they couldn't place me.

So weird!

I ran into a couple of people I haven't seen in awhile at a funeral a couple of weeks ago. One of them introduced himself as if we'd never met, another kind of recognized me but couldn't figure out why. At the cemetery the other day I saw my massage therapist's husband, someone I often see on my way out after a session. We say hello and talk for a second about the weather or whatever. But at the cemetery, though he was friendly, he seemed astounded I knew his name and I could see him trying to put me into context. On the way home I ran into somebody I see at a mutual friend's parties. We always have a great conversation. She didn't know me.

It's embarrassing and awkward to reintroduce myself. It is humbling but not in a good way. I used to help people by reminding them of the circumstances under which we met. These days, I just let 'em squirm. Is that wrong?

In my dream last night, the Nazis were coming to a house where I was, along with many other people. One of the dream people suggested I hide. The rest of the dream I went from place to place, trying to decide where I could best be hidden. Stand behind a door? They might close the door and see. Hide under the bed? That's so cliche! Of course they would look. I went from room to room on the second floor, then climbed the grand staircase to the third floor where I at last decided to hide behind the coats in a large walk-in closet. There were shoes and boots beneath the coats. I figured they wouldn't see my legs. I hid behind a grey trench coat and pair of tall wellies.

It was a beautiful house. The closet was full of beautiful clothes. If not for the Nazis, it would have been a very nice dream.

When I heard the Nazis breaking down the front door of the house, I woke up frightened. But I didn't stay scared long. Maybe I'm invisible because I'm still - even in the golden years of this lifetime - hiding from the Nazis. Because if so, that would explain my perpetual invisibility.

After this helpful dream what I'm thinking is maybe being invisible is not something I should take personally. What I mean is maybe I shouldn't blame the people who don't remember me. My invisibility is an adaptive behavior developed long ago in this life or before this life. It's not their fault!

Would I want to suddenly be very visible? Maybe not! It's interesting to think about.

Red shirt, coral shorts, big hat, lots of lipstick, taking pics in a car bumper. If I ran into this woman, I would remember her. Wouldn't you?


Rebecca Clayton said...

Maybe you're Lamont Cranston, aka "The Shadow." It was an old radio drama. The Shadow had "the ability to cloud men's minds," so that he could question people, get them to tell him the truth, and they couldn't remember what he looked like. He solved crimes, righted wrongs, and pretended to be an idle playboy.

Doesn't that sound like an ideal job description?

Reya Mellicker said...

I learned the art of clouding people's minds when I was a witch. Honestly, though I was rather good at it, I didn't enjoy it.


tut-tut said...

Is there such a thing as cloaking? Because I don't think anyone could fail to recognize you, whether they merely encountered you on the street or talked to you at a party. Could you be subconsciously hiding yourself somehow?

Linda Sue said...

invisible is good.

The Bug said...

That is so crazy - I can't even imagine not remembering you! In fact, I have mini daydreams sometimes that Mike & I are on a trip to DC (and for some reason haven't told you, which I can't see happening) & there you are somewhere on the mall & I make you go to lunch with us :)

That being said, I'm fascinated by your dream & interpretation. Sounds like truth to me!

Reya Mellicker said...

I would love to meet for lunch, Dana!

I think I'm more vivid on the internet than in person. You'll have to come visit and see.

I'm also thinking it's one of my shamanic powers, a cloak of invisibility.

Rebecca you might be right. I should always listen to you.

Steve Reed said...

I've often felt the same way -- it's surprising when someone fails to recognize you, and it's hard not to be insulted. But like you said, would you WANT to be very visible? There are probably more advantages to blending in, keeping your head down, and observing others! (Having said that, I'm surprised people don't remember you. You seem very memorable to me!)

Pam said...

Oh I'm one of the guilty ones who doesn't remember people - and no, it's not a good idea to make us squirm. I also have a very hard time with names.
I have friends who associate with the blind community and I can't remember who I have and haven't met in that setting - it gets confusing. When they bought a young man who was blind to a social function, I asked him "Have we met before?" What a stupid question. He just turned to my friend, and she didn't know either.

Anonymous said...

Your dream interpretation is a pretty good one. I'm also an invisible person--I've been stepped on, and, most memorably, once sat on (and the person never even realized they did it, despite my wriggling out from under them). All my life I've had dreams of hiding too, so perhaps it is a space I'm making for myself.

Of course, there's also the view that says these people are just clueless and self-centered. An easy view, especially when they're sitting on you!