Saturday, October 21, 2006

Invisible

Last Monday, two people emailed me, wondering why I hadn't posted anything over the previous weekend. Well, I was sort of busy with other things, but that isn't the point. The point is that this proves there are at least two people in the world who are regular readers of this blog. They both happen to be friends of mine, but I'm going to ignore that for the moment since I also got an email from a total stranger. I don't know if she's a regular reader of my blog, but her email indicates that she has read it at least once.

Maybe this wouldn't be such a big deal to you, but I'm not used to all the attention because I've been invisible for most of my life.

Normally, when you mention you're invisible, people immediately think about how cool it would be and how they could use the so-called "power" of invisibility to their own advantage. Well, there are definitely some advantages -- I won't argue with that -- but they're so outweighed by the disadvantages that it isn't even funny.

For example, when you're invisible, try ordering something in a restaurant. It's next to impossible, since the waiters and waitresses literally do not see you. Or try walking on a sidewalk downtown or any other busy area without getting bumped into a hundred times. It's just not going to happen. Or worse yet, try crossing a busy street by yourself. It'll be a miracle if you get to the other side without killing yourself.

And there are a lot of less obvious problems as well, such as an increased susceptibility to nearsightedness, a distaste for certain types of music, and a profound inability to distinguish between various species of bats.

As for the advantages, if you're a guy, is it really that important for you to see some beautiful woman naked without her knowing about it? And if you answered "yes," then think about that same beautiful woman walking right past you the next day in a park or someplace without even acknowledging your existence.

Being invisible is a physiological condition, but it's not considered a medical condition because there's no medical treatment for it. Amazingly, there aren't any researchers who are even studying the condition. Part of the reason is that it's such a rare condition that a lot of people don't even know it exists. And when you try to tell them otherwise, they simply don't believe you.

The other part of the reason is that for most people the condition tends to go away as they get older, although it isn't always a very smooth transition. Some people just sort of gradually fade into visibility over the years, but for most people, including me, one day you're visible and everything's fine, but the next day you could be completely invisible again. It's totally unpredictable, which sometimes makes it difficult to plan ahead.

I'm mostly invisible these days, but unfortunately, you can't tell just by looking at yourself -- I can always see myself whether other people can see me or not. The only way to know for certain is by looking into a mirror. And that can sometimes lead to confusion. For example, just the other day, I was walking downtown and not a single person bumped into me, so I figured I must be visible, but then a beautiful woman walked right by me without even acknowledging my existence.