Stupidity Thinks We’re Invisible

I have trouble being in the company of persons who speak of me as if I’m not even present. Such occurs while I’m wide awake, in a public setting and in complete view of such persons. Don’t worry, this is not a regular, almost planned event like London fog or a faithfully present full moon, which shows itself every 29-30 days. It happens about as often as a flat tire or acid rain (which, as you know, rarely occurs at all, if you’re careful).

I volunteer at the library. I’m not one of those perky, reliable, ambitious volunteers. I show up when I can, and they’re okay with that.

I was standing at the counter, checking in books, when I heard (and mind you this is a very small library; the size of a typical, metropolitan public restroom), quite loudly,

“Who’s she?” in a voice reminiscent of Big Bird.

And not surprisingly, when I looked up, the owner of said voice did resemble the jovial Bird in more ways than just sheer largess and yellow feathers.

The gracious librarian explained, “She’s one of our very good” (I half expected her to insert, ‘but highly unreliable’) volunteers. Just like you.”

I smiled at my Amazonian comrade-in-volunteer-arms, while Inner Me wondered whether she’d actually address me with her next utterance.

“Well, I’ve never seen her before,” she responded.

“No, you haven’t,” I elaborated helpfully, while tossing her a dirty look.

I’m not too patient when people state the obvious, especially while I’m rapidly developing a lower back ache from picking up heavy book bags that were once crispy white and are now a filthy hue of cow dung brown and brimming with volumes of the library’s weightiest reads. Is it any wonder I am the rare, ever aloof, volunteer?

I was thinking these thoughts while the wheels in the bird-woman’s head were turning. They moved so slowly that I could see them, creakily grinding away. I immediately felt guilt because, well, if you saw her, you’d feel guilty too for acting so peevishly. And there was something…innocent about her.

She waddled towards me thrusting out a wing, I mean, a hand, and said,

“I’m Rosemary. Nice to meet you,” she flashed a smile a pre-schooler would surely love.

I put my annoyance firmly and a bit sheepishly away.

The above is a minor example of stupers (short yet again, for those mindlessly stupid persons) who regard fully aware people occupying nearby space as invisible. My friend, Marla, a thirty-five-year-old psychologist, who’s been married ten years, recounted another, less amiable, instance:

Marla and her mother were shopping in a store when they ran into Anne, the mother’s friend.

Anne: (to Marla’s mother) Is this the one with the kids?

Mother: No, it’s my other daughter who has two children.

Anne: Doesn’t this one want to have any kids?

At that point, Marla wanted to smash her well-heeled sandal down soundly on top of Anne’s open-toe Birkenstocks. Instead, she excused herself, slipped into another department and called me.

It just could be that these stupers realize (too late) that the question they’re asking is frightfully awkward and obviously none of their business. This results in their spilling out the actual query onto the wrong party. Stupers have no control over the paltry contents of their mouths (the brain being empty) so the question entirely misses its target. Either way, Marla was miffed.

There are two paths that may be followed. Either the victim answers the question for herself, reminding the stuper of her presence and capability in formulating a response; thereby redirecting the meager mind in the proper direction. Or said recipient can live up to the stuper’s expectations. Since idiots treat you as if you don’t exist, why not indulge them? Try making faces and/or gestures of your choosing and see if they still think you’re invisible. Or do a little song and dance, recite that poem you memorized in the sixth grade and can’t seem to forget or share your thoughts on the current, unconscionably excessive gas prices. Let it all out!

Take advantage of every opportunity a stuper provides you of showing your best or at least your better self. Don’t let them bring out the worst in you.

Just think.


5 Responses to “Stupidity Thinks We’re Invisible”

  1. Brent Diggs says:

    I think you are right about the mouthes of stupers flowing without control. We should probability count ourselves fortunate that thought entered the equation at all, after all afterthought is better than no thought.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Along similar lines, I hate it — largely because of my gargantuan ego — when you visit someone like TG and I did recently, and you attend an event with them where they handily know everyone there, and you tag along with them as they make their various connections and schmooze and whatnot, and they don’t introduce you! You just stand there like a knob, feeling exceedingly self-conscious, while they natter away about subjects known only to them, and completely ignore you. I mean, come on, people! If you have a guest and they don’t know anyone in the room, the first thing you do is politely introduce them and explain to the in-the-knows the reason for your guest’s presence. This is basic etiquette.

  3. dawn says:

    LOL… “They moved so slowly that I could see them, creakily grinding away.”
    I think I’ll recite nursery rhymes the next time this happens!
    Hey diddle diddle.. 😀
    Great post Keli!

  4. Jillian says:

    This has happened to me a few times. It used to bother me, but now I just speak up and start talking. Pretend like I’m not… pfft!

  5. Keli says:

    Absolutely true! And I am always grateful for afterthought.
    My husband does the same blaming it on a faulty memory (forgetting the other person’s name, not mine). I usually stick out a hand and introduce myself, somewhere along the way.
    Brilliant! Reciting a nursery rhyme would at least be amusing!
    I think that’s the best course of action to take. Good for you!

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