The other night, I sat in a restaurant with my husband, Joe, and another couple. A very socially conspicuous couple. That means wherever this couple goes, they are recognized. A man came over to greet them and also said hello to Joe. I've met this man probably a half dozen times, but when he didn't acknowledge me, we were introduced, again. I have a little theory about these types of people. It goes like this: when there's a person who refuses to say hello when they run into you at the grocery store or act like they don't know you at a party, never break the agreement you have not to acknowledge each other. If you break the agreement, the consequence is you'll forever have to speak to this social-climber with whom you have no interest in making small talk. If you insist you've been introduced before and if you protest the fact they never remember you even though you've been introduced and reintroduced many times, you will be sorry. When I was in college, I invented the theory of invisibility with my friend, Eileen. Eileen got me from the beginning and when I explained to her that for the most part, in a crowd of socializing people, I was invisible, she only laughed a little, but she completely understood what I meant. This understanding on her part meant we would become lifelong friends. Eileen found me funny, but she also knew that she'd have to listen closely to hear the funny lines. I'm not much of an attention seeker. When I'm at a party, I'm on the periphery, making wisecracks to just one person, probably someone I've known for years (often Joe: the most gregarious person at the party). Joe might repeat my line and collect the laughs. I don't mind: I'm more of a writer than a speaker.
Imagine my surprise when I read about this very theory in Hugh Sheehy’s Flannery O’Connor Award–winning short story debut collection,
. An invisible is “a person who is unnoticeable, hence unmemorable.”
The book is a great read. Hope you can find it.
What does all this have to do with meditation? Probably not much except for the fact that I'm more comfortable than ever with keeping a low profile and when I ran into the guy from the restaurant a couple of days later, I honored our implicit agreement and totally ignored him.