Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Saturday, I was Invisible -from the Author of Paula Takes a Risk, Available March 2012

Saturday, I was Invisible

One Saturday night, not too long ago, a group of coworkers and I went to a trendy club in a trendy neighborhood for some trendy drinks and dancing.  When we arrived at a club, the group dispersed and I was left alone.  I found an empty barstool and sat down.  A few minutes later, a man approached me, smiled and asked me, “Is that barstool taken?”  I looked to my left and to my right.  Both stools were being used.  I looked up to answer him and noticed he was pointing at the stool that I was sitting on.

That’s odd.  I was confused.  “I’m sitting here.”

“Oh.” he said and walked away.

I attempted to get the attention of the bartender.  “Excuse me,” didn’t work.  Waving my hand didn’t work.  Waving a twenty-dollar bill didn’t work.  But when a woman who had tattoos on her neck and glitter in her hair leaned across the bar, grabbed the bartender by the arm and shoved her tongue down is throat, I figured, Well, at least he is within shouting range.  I tapped her on the shoulder and thanked her.  She looked past me like I wasn’t there.

As people passed by, they knocked, pushed and shoved me.  When a huge bald man in a mesh shirt jabbed me in the kidneys with his elbow, I was convinced that I had stumbled upon the tryouts for the World Wrestling Federation. 

After being completely ignored for about a half an hour, I figured it out.  I realized that for all intent and purpose, I was invisible.  So, why not take advantage of my invisible status?  I watched the action around me and realized that everyone was working very hard to gain the attention of others.  I observed overt flirting, solicitous giggling, and animated conversation.

 Since I was invisible, I decided that I had the perfect opportunity to try an experiment.  I spent the rest of the evening trying to get the attention of the visible people by using the techniques that I have always found annoying and distasteful. 

I started a conversation with a man who clearly did not want to talk to me.  He was trying very hard to get away from me.  All he wanted to do was order drinks from the bartender and going back to his girlfriend.

“Hi.” I started.

He ignored me.

“I said, hi.” I waved my hand in front of his face.

“What?”  He seemed annoyed.  “Oh, hi.”

I pressed on.  “What’s your name?” 

He didn’t answer.

“You look like a Bob.” I pushed, “Is it alright if I call you Bob?”

“What? … Whatever.” He leaned over the bar and flagged down the bartender.

“Bob, do you like it here, at this club?  It’s my first time here.”

“Bob?” He didn’t answer.

“Bob … Bob.”  Then in a sing-songy voice, “Bobby, are you ignoring me?” I waved my hand in front of his face again.

“What?” He grabbed my waving hand. “Leave me alone!”

His drinks arrived and he paid the bartender.

I pushed one more time, “Is that for me?” I reached for one of the glasses.

“Hey!” He pushed my hand away.  “Leave that alone! Leave me alone.”  He looked at me like I was crazy and walked away.

Strike one.  Whose next?  I looked around the bar.

There was a group of four very chic looking women, who all looked to be about twenty-five years old.  They were standing in a little circle.  I walked over.  At first, when they sensed that I was there, they just tightened their circle.

“Hi. Have you girls met anyone yet?” 


I tapped one of them on the shoulder.  She brushed off her shoulder, squinted at me and made a “Thsk” sound.

I walked around the circle and stood behind another one of the girls. “Hi.”

She ignored me.  She and her friends rolled their eyes at one another.

Then I broke through, “Boy, you sure look pretty.”

Bing!  She turned, “What?”

“I said that you’re pretty.”

Her friends giggled.

“I’m not into that. So if you don’t mind I’m having a conversation with my friends-”

“I don’t mind.” I smiled wide and continued to stand there.

They closed their circle so tight that they were practically wearing each other’s clothes.

Strike two.  Next victim.

I walked up to a woman who obviously was trying to catch the eye of a man.  She saw me coming toward her and she turned to stone.  She was clearly annoyed by my presence and completely ignored my existence.  She looked past me and over my head.  So I decided to say whatever came to my mind, speak gibberish and use animated hand gestures.  I was curious about how long she would stand there until she would either breakdown and speak to me or just walk away.

“Hi.” I said.  I proudly held my arms out and told her, “ I’m one hundred and thirty years old and I weigh twenty-three pounds.”

She ignored me.

I offered, “I like green eggs and ham.”  I couldn’t help chuckling to myself.


I gestured toward the bathroom and said, using a serious voice, “flippita-yippity-yakka-pippy-pa-poo.”

She shifted her weight from one foot to another and exhaled through her nose.  Still, she continued to ignore me.  She was a pro.

Just as I was about launch into my rendition of the Barney Song, she smiled at a man who was about ten feet away.  She pushed me aside and walked away.

Strike three.

I went back to the bar and looked around.  I noticed that most of the women who were getting attention were very body-aware.  They were rubbing their hands up and down their arms and body and through their hair.  Okay, I thought.  I could do that. I pulled off my sweater, revealing my T-shirt. I continued.  I stretched my neck and let out a little sigh. Then, I rubbed my hands up my torso and lightly cupped my breasts.  That got the attention from the man next to me.  I coyly looked at him.

He looked at my hands, then at my face, “Hi there.”

“Hi, yourself.” I exhaled heavily.

“Do you need any help with that?” he offered as he motioned, with his eyes, toward my chest.

“No thanks” I smiled,  “I’ve got ‘em.”

Just then, the group of people who I arrived at the club with, walked up.  One of them said, “We’re ready to leave?  By the way, we’ve been watching you. You certainly are popular.”

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