Did You Notice This?

runnerThis may surprise some people who know me well but I can be incredibly unobtrusive. I can slip into places completely unnoticed, probably because I’m unusually average: average build, average looks, average height. Actually I seem to be slightly below average height because I look up to most people, but maybe that’s why I can sometimes sit in a group and everyone will forget I’m there until I speak up. Or sometimes they won’t even notice when I speak up. Apart from the time I wandered into the Cleveland Botanical Garden and had a really great time looking around even though it was still under construction (I was there in 2000, it didn’t open to the public until 2003) I’ve never really taken advantage of this skill, although it’s a power I’d only want to use for good, never evil. I wouldn’t rob a bank or anything like that, especially since I wouldn’t be able to resist making a joke about how so many financial transactions are virtual now that robbing banks is pointless now.

Police officer: Can you describe him?

Bank teller: Yes, he was average build, average looks, a little less than average height.

Police officer: And what did he do?

Bank teller: Well, he came in and said this was a robbery. He handed me a bag and told me to fill it with Bitcoin then he started laughing and ran out.

I probably shouldn’t be joking about that. Once when I was a kid a friend and I went to the bank with his mother and while we were waiting for her to take care of her finances I joked about writing “THIS IS A ROBBERY” on the back of one of the withdrawal slips and sticking it back in the stack and got a stern lecture from a security guard about how that was not even a little bit funny. I was kind of glad he noticed me, but that’s another story.

Anyway every once in a while I’ve gotten to the far side of the intersection where I catch the bus and seen the bus coming. And I’ve gotten there when it’s still safe to cross but the lights can change in an instance so I run to make sure I get to the stop. This might happen once or twice a month, but the weird thing is it’s always been the same driver. The only times I’ve ever seen her are when I’ve run to catch the bus—until recently.

The other day I made it to the stop early and this particular driver drove up. I got on and was swiping my card—even bus fares are electronic now—and she clapped and said, “Yay! You didn’t have to run!”

We both laughed and then I thought how weird it was that she remembered me. Some bus drivers have driven right by without even realizing I was there.

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  1. Sarah

    Ah! I can relate to this so much! I’m also of average size, average build, average everything…and often have the feeling I’m invisible. It’s so weird but waiters constantly forget me. Todd thought I was exaggerating at first, but now he’s seen it happen for six straight years and thinks it’s bizarre, too. I’ll order a glass of wine and it never, ever comes. I have to remind the waiter at least once before I get it. And, we’ll be out in groups and everyone’s talking and I’m that person who contributes a line of conversation and no one hears it. Then there’s that awkward pause where I think, do I say it again? Or not? I often say it again but then people STILL don’t hear me. And then I get embarrassed so I shut up. Anyway, I feel your pain. But, I like this perspective that it means we can slip in to places and not be noticed! That’s a very positive angle that I’ve not considered before! Hmm.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s funny that you mention contributing a line of conversation and no one hearing it because the same thing happens to me sometimes in large groups. Or sometimes I’ll say something and everyone will get incredibly quiet as though they’re all thinking, Where did that come from? Although the worst thing is when I say something and suddenly everyone’s attention is directly focused on me and I start stammering because I’m thrown off by all the eyes on me. Public speaking is no problem for me as long as I know what I’m going to say, but holding my own in a group conversation can be difficult.

  2. halfa1000miles

    Awww…I would notice you, Boo 🙂

    P.S. We did our Escape Room in 62 minutes (FAIL). I was surprised by the complexity of the clues. I felt like a man created our room…just saying. We’ll do better on the next one, now that we have some kind of inkling what goes on. I thought they would hand us a set of clues. Not so much. Fun though!!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Hey, you got out of your escape room even if you had to go over a little bit. We all got stickers that said “I Almost Escaped” because the guy who gave us our instructions had to come in and stop us. He said we were on the last step but…it was great fun although I did feel some frustration at one point trying to work a combination lock in the dark. And they didn’t give us flashlights!

      1. halfa1000miles

        My husband brought a small one and it saved us at one point!

  3. Lisa K

    I think that’s why God gave us fog… to make up for not letting us have invisibility powers.

    Have you had to chase the bus because the driver didn’t see you? Maybe you DO have invisibility and just can’t flick it on and off at will…

    That’d be cool.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I have had to chase the bus because a driver didn’t see me! That’s an interesting thought. Maybe I really am invisible sometimes. It’s a good thing I can’t turn it on and off at will because I’d be tempted to use the power for terrible things.


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