Being Invisible

I have been going to a church group- one of those things churches have these days where a small group of people meet on a weekday night and talk about the sermon or other stuff. I’m close to 50, most of the other people are couple around 30 with no kids. About three of these couples. There was also a single young woman of about 25 who used to come, but I haven’t seen her in a few months.

I was at the seafood counter at the supermarket this afternoon to get some fish for dinner, and I saw her at the meat counter. I wanted to say hi, I waited a bit and she moved in my direction, facing me, and I turned and said “How you doin’?” but she ignored me.

Either 1) she recognized me and didn’t want to talk to me- I had glasses on, and some beard growth, but I don’t think I looked that much different- or 2) she didn’t recognize me and ignored me for that reason.

I have had people obviously ignoring me. When I was in the Marines I was changing planes in Raleigh and saw a guy on the same flight from Basic School. But he was ignoring me- not not seeing me, not not noticing me, obviously ignoring me. He was a popular, cool guy and I was a loser so I figure OK, if that’s how you want to be about it. It was a big plane, airlines commonly used widebodies for domestic routes those days, so I wouldn’t see him on the flight anyway.

After I got on a guy asked me if I would switch seats so he could sit with his wife and kids. No problem. And who am I sitting next to? The guy continued to ignore me, and I him, all the way across the fucking country.

That’s an extreme example. I have had other people ignore me, then be forced by circumstances to acknowledge me, and be all weird about it. Or just be weird when seeing me again. I consider myself weird and awkward, but do I really have and understand social skills better than most people? Is a polite greeting to someone you have met before or are acquainted with that difficult to do? I don’t want to be buddies with you, I would just like basic human recognition, as I would extend to you.

I think this comes from childhood and adolescence. On the playground avoiding the unpopular is as important or more important than getting close to the popular. Outsiders have kind of a stink that may get on you. If you are friendly or even polite to such a person, people may associate them with you, to serious social consequence. I appreciate that but adults should be able to be polite and cordial to all others, no one is going to think you are on their social level because you say hello with a friendly face.

The Marine guy- his name is Curtis, and he’s from Michigan- was going to California, to fly helicopters. All the guys who went to flight school wanted to fly jets or at least C-130s and regarded flying helicopters as a fate worse than death. On the other hand I know various class A jerkoffs who flew F-18s, so poetic justice doesn’t always happen. I did run into another asshole from OCS who had gotten helicopters and was complaining about it to me like he had been betrayed. Boo fucking hoo.

Anyway- a lot of people are jerks, a lot of people have no class. An adult who acts like a teenage girl is pretty stupid. Worse than an omega I would say.


3 Responses to Being Invisible

  1. Erik says:

    Poetic justice…and no class
    What has happened to Michigan…I think without expecting to, you have explained it!

  2. Candice says:

    It really sucks when people are so impolite!

    I’ve noticed people in big cities and especially people now are more likely to ignore others. I theorise that they are suffering overload of socal contact and anyway could not handle all the obligation that would involved knowing and helping everybody, as occurs in isolated regional areas. In those sparsely populated areas, people might have avoided Indigenous people and disreputable outsiders, but not always as the fate of everyone is connected. Another reason for people these days not wanting to connect to others on publc transport could be they are too involved in listening to their portable music devices!

    OK – so I have been ignored by some people I was acquinated with from 20 or more years ago, not people from country areas who treat me like an old friend, but city people. I assume they have forgotten me or I have changed overly and the cues they looked for have gone (I dress much differently now). City people anyway don’t notice that much when they are walking. They may also be preoccupied. One also gets accustomed to people greeting others behind one, so the assumption it’s NOT YOU may become unconscious. I assume the lady in the shop may simply not have remembered your existence and then just filtered you out.

    Yes of course people do ignore and avoid people they perceive as threats. I’ve done that too – walk quickly and purposely, don’t establish eye contact… But I’ve lived long enough to ID real threats – the dangerously mentally ill, ill-willed drunken people, pan handlers, charity/religion recruiters and street groomers (men who recruit children or young women for sex exploitation purposes). I always try to be polite to everyone else and find I meet very interesting people even if they look a little odd. And BTW, street groomers ignore me now!

    I cannot imagine you are so creepy people ignore you – you’re probably just a normal presenting quiet man. I think you may expect too much of people, many of whom who are not very well brought up or are even quite small minded and insular. I think you do indeed have more manners and people skills than they.

    The lesson I get from your article is the importance of being polite and acknowledging other people – this is a very important point you have made. It takes very little to say, hello and then explain why you may need to withdraw, e.g. needing to prepare for work or rest out a headache.

    Good post – thanks! 🙂 C

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yup. Been there too. I jokingly refer to it as my super power.

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