Sunday, August 25, 2013

On Being Invisible

This is the end of move in week at SUNY New Paltz.  Freshman Orientation is probably going to take place starting Monday, if it hasn't already happened.  I see young folks walking around town with single page street maps printed up by the college to help the newbies orient themselves to their new town.  Traffic has increased on Main Street.  Students are beginning to populate the streets in the daytime and the bars in the evening.

 I am aware that, as a senior citizen in a college town,  I am invisible.  The late teens and early twenty somethings who populate our beautiful campus and funky berg every year do not see me.  I'm confident I could stand still in the middle of any sidewalk in downtown New Paltz and the students would walk around me as they would a lamppost, never acknowledging me as a person, merely stepping around me as as they would any impediment to their progress.

Since I am still young in my mind, and a guy, I tend to stare at beautiful women, admiring the perfection that nature and their own efforts have bestowed on them.  Were I young in fact, not a septuagenarian, that look could anger, amuse, or scare the woman; now it has no effect at all.  If her eye catches mine, it is in passing, looking over, around, or through, never at, me.

However, there are some advantages to being invisible.  As a writer, I watch people: how they walk, their gestures, facial expressions, dress.  And I also listen: to accents, idioms, patois - where my invisibility is essential.  Being unseen, I am able to sit at a table in a coffee shop next to a group of young folks without alarming them or changing the tenor of their conversation.  I suspect I could even take notes and none of them would notice.

I think I'll go for a walk.

1 comment:

  1. Tom, what would the young folks say and or do if I stood next to you and they had to contend with two invisibles. If you combine two invisibles do you then have one visable?? Spense