Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Invisible Woman

Rather disturbed to read in the paper a couple of weeks ago that women feel they become invisible at the age of 46. Which leaves me about 3 and a half months before something I have oft suspected to be true about myself actually happens for real.

When walking in our local town, I regularly find myself becoming invisible, so I can only assume that the disappearing process has already begun. I am starting to fade in and out of visibility rather like Kenneth Williams as Orlando in 'Carry On Screaming' when his battery runs out and he has to plug himself into the mains electricity to recharge himself. People stop suddenly without warning so I have to swerve around them. People barge in front of me in queues; they reach across me to get something off a shelf. They drop doors in my face, and if I hold a door open for them, they breeze through without so much as a 'ta very much'. Oh, hang on a that me being invisible or people being VERY RUDE??!!

Then there's school. As a teacher you are often invisible to students especially when you are asking them where their coursework/ homework is, or to stop throwing shards of rulers or blunt pencils at each other. You become viewed as another boring, moany weirdo with odd taste in clothes who's 'JUST LIKE MY MUM.' However, if you make an error of any sort, then you suddenly become VERY visible. 'Guess what Miss thought Justin Bieber was called? Justin Beeble!! Ahahahahahahaaaaaa!!!! What a loser!!'

But then I got to thinking. What if the invisibility doesn't relate at all to the fading talents and beauty of the female form, to the growing inadequacies of the mid-life crisis menopausal depression that inflicts us all, to the empty-nest-family-needs-us-no-more-syndrome? What if it means that we ACTUALLY develop the ability to become physically INVISIBLE??


Now that IS something to look forward to. Just imagine...

'Where's Mum?'
'I don't know...she must be around somewhere because the kitchen bin has been emptied and there's a fresh loo roll on the holder.'
'Yeah, and someone's been shopping but got the wrong crisp AGAIN...'
'Can't smell any dinner being cooked though...'
'P'raps we're having takeaway....Mum!!!! Are we having takeaway???? Mum????'

Meanwhile, woman, aged 46, is curled up in the corner of the sofa with a Jane Austen, a mug of tea and packet of all-butter shortbread biscuits. She has upon her person the TV remote control, having previously taken the precaution of 'disabling' the manual TV controls and blaming their malfunction on a cat running wild with a screwdriver.

Of course, I have no intention of succumbing to invisibilty on my 46th birthday. That would be crazy. On rare occasions when I try foster an air of invisibility, usually by having what I call a 'quiet' day, people assume I am ill or something is wrong.

'What's the matter?' they say. 'Why are you being so quiet? Why aren't you ranting about something? Why aren't you entertaining us with witty stories and endless cake?'

'Nothing is wrong,' I say. 'I'm just being quiet,' I say. 'Reflective. At one with the Universe. In the zone.'

These excuses are usually met with looks of confusion, then uncertain laughter, like I am having a joke or something.

Is being invisible such a bad thing? Sometimes I think it has its advantages. Sometimes it's important to be able to vanish into your own world, do a bit of mind dusting, re-arrange the creative furniture. And surreptitiously hide the remote control.

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