Tuesday, 16 August 2016
On Being Invisible
Let me explain.
I could be sitting on a bus, or a train, peacefully reading my newspaper when people sitting around me start talking as if I am not there. This happened the other day.
I was on a long train journey and I sat in one of those old fashioned trains where they have small compartments seating six people, with a sliding door which you can shut for privacy. I was alone in the compartment reading in peace. At the next station stop, the door of the compartment slid open and in entered two women; I would guess they were in their thirties. As the train moved on they started talking. It was obvious they knew each other from work because the conversation started about their supervisor and how they did not like him. Then the conversation moved on to how they spent their weekend. Then it became more personal as they discussed their respective boy-friends. Then it got even more personal as one declared that she had an itch somewhere private.
I shuffled my newspaper a few times, turning the pages hurriedly to make my presence obvious. To no avail. They continued chatting away totally oblivious, or un-caring about me being there. This went on for a good 45 minutes or so when eventually one of them got off at her home station. The other then turned to me and mentioned how it's been good weather lately. This is an inane comment we usually make in the UK when we have nothing to talk about. But I was pleased she spoke. It confirmed that I was not totally invisible.
On another occasion, some years back, I helped a friend of mine who owned a restaurant by serving at tables. I took food orders and served people their food.
You know how waiters can often become invisible? Well, it happened to me.
There were these two men discussing something or other political. One thought this way, and the other felt it was another way. I took their order whilst they continued their discussion. I served them their food, and as I came to their table many times, they just generally ignored me, gave me a cursory glance and thanked me when I poured them some wine, but continued discussing their political view-points.
When I had served their whole meal and they were eating and still discussing; I pulled up a chair and sat at their table and joined in the conversation.
I sided with one of them and said he was generally right in his opinions. To my surprise they both welcomed my view and I found myself joining their debate. At one point one of them asked me to get a glass and have some wine with them!
The other day I was in an elevator going up a block of offices. On the second floor the elevator stopped and a young couple, man and woman, came in. It was obvious they were lovers because as soon as the elevator door shut they started kissing. Why is it the young generation these days think nothing of kissing and cuddling in public? Back in the day, if you wanted to kiss your girl-friend you had to send her a written notice a fortnight in advance. No anymore. Nowadays, apparently, you have to be spontaneous and be friendly with your girl whenever and wherever you want.
They'll never let us in that supermarket again!