Monday, May 22, 2017

The Invisible Woman

I'm the kind of person that, in general, other people don't see and don't remember. I'm guessing I fly under their radar because most women don't find me a threat, most men don't find me attractive. I'm not ugly; I just don't stand out. This city was settled by Germans, and being mostly of northern European extraction myself (although I self-identify as Danish), I blend right in. Just another Hoosier.

Case in point: At the sixth of eight dog training classes, when the instructor took attendance, she commented, "Nice to see Watson is back." Yes, she recognized the dog, but didn't realize we had not missed any classes. In fact, after the previous class, I had stopped to discuss one-on-one a particular problem I have with Watson. Apparently, looking me in the eye for five minutes was not enough to earn a position on the stack of her short term memory.

It is also not unusual for me to be mistaken for someone else, sometimes someone I actually know, but to my knowledge never does the reverse happen. For example, the parents of one woman I'm frequently mistaken for moved nearby; when I mentioned to them that I was often mistaken for their daughter, they looked at me as though I were crazy. Or maybe they were just horrified.

One disconcerting experience of mistaken identity has been with the medical community. Someone with the same name as mine must be a real bitch because I have been treated oddly and sometimes rather rudely by a variety of nurses (one yelled at me over the phone, so I know it wasn't my looks) and a dermatologist once tried to examine me from across the room. I have changed doctors enough in the past few years that this particular issue seems to be resolved. Or maybe the other woman died. Or moved to Florida. (Which is worse?)

Sometimes I have fun with my invisibility. While attending a fiber arts festival, I spotted a member of the local spinning guild. I confess I myself am not good with names and faces, but this time I not only recognized the face, I remembered the name. I called out to her and chatted her up a bit, but I could tell she had no idea who I was even though I sat next to her during several meetings when she served as the guild president. I decided not to help her out.

I've learned not to throw my arms around old friends and former co-workers I have not seen for a while, just in case they don't recognize me. A different hair style and new eyeglass frames can really throw people, not to mention the aging thing. Being older has actually raised my visibility to strangers, though, I guess because it's considered a blessing to help the "elderly" (I'm 64). Unfortunately, my profile has also been raised with those Medicare supplement call centers that keep phoning. And they don't even know what I look like.

1 comment:

Sweet Posy Dreams said...

I always thought we got less visible as we age. I know I don't catch any guys' eyes anymore (and that's fine with me). I feel happy at 57 to fly under the radar. After all, if people don't see me, they don't know what I'm up to!