Invisible Blind People

9 Aug

by Nancy Scott

New neighbors across the alley from my old apartment were having a wild summer party.  Colorful almost-violent language, lots of beer, and a quoit match. I’d never heard such goings-on outside, and I couldn’t quite hear enough from inside my open kitchen window. So I decided to go outside and sit in my backyard swing (which I often did anyway) and try consciously to be as invisible as possible.

I didn’t usually need a cane in my own yard. I sauntered calmly, slowly, non-threateningly, like I wasn’t nosy.

Tiny pushes of the swing. Face immobile. Mantra: “I’m little. You don’t really see me and if you do I’m not paying attention.” And it worked for about 15 minutes of behavior that would have embarrassed most of us, disputing scores and ring-tosses. Until it got quiet and someone asked, “Do you think she’s meditating?”

I knew I was the “she.” I couldn’t hear the host’s answer, but I bet it had something to do with “blind.”

But I almost lost it at the meditation question, and very nearly started to laugh. That would have blown my non-attention cover, which I needed to maintain. I fought, commanding my face not to move. Mantra: “Not funny. Freeze face.” It was hard, but it must have worked. They went back to beer and badgering.

As time went on, of course, I got used to new noise. But I still used possible invisibility to eavesdrop.

No one else has ever asked if it’s meditation. But it worked once, and I like being thought of as the meditation type. I’ll settle for that sort of invisibility. If you’re a writer or a curious person, you might try it too.

Nancy Scott, Easton, PA, is an essayist and poet.  Her over-500 bylines have appeared in magazines, literary journals, anthologies and newspapers, and as audio commentaries.  Her third chapbook, co-authored with artist Maryann Riker, is entitled “The Nature of Beyond.”

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One Response to “Invisible Blind People”

  1. Mani G. Iyer August 9, 2011 at 9:09 AM #

    Funny! I have tried the meditation ruse many times, but my snoring gives it away. 🙂

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