Monday, April 25, 2011

Being invisible

I have lost my anonymity.

Let me backtrack.... I live in a small town, where everybody knows my name. Or if not my name, my husbands name. And our faces. Everybody knows everybody. For the most part, it's good. It's comfortable. It makes you feel part of something.

Without going into a lot of detail tho, there are times when you just want to be invisible. It doesn't happen often around here.

I have to do a lot of community events and service with my job. So I'm at things, involved in things, doing things. At heart I am a homebody and introverted. I know, that's hard for some of you to believe, but it's true. My dream holiday would be for a couple of days ALL TO MYSELF. No phone calls, no invitations...just walks and books and old movies and a glass or two of wine. Chinese food or pizza of MY choosing.

Just for a couple of days of course...I know it would get lonely after a while. But it sure sounds good.

We attend the Methodist Church here in Winnemucca. Everyone knows our name. We can't just go to church and be invisible. Ironically, we could go to any church here and people would know our names, as we would know their's. It's a small town. A cliché but true. In fact, one day a man came into the Dry Cleaners (which we own) and said to my husband, "I haven't seen you at Mass lately". The Handyman had to inform the man, that he wasn't Catholic. The man said "REALLY? Huh. I could have sworn you were."


It's because in a small town, you see everyone everywhere, at every event and in the grocery store and out to eat. One gets confused as to who does what, goes where and belongs to which club. It all intermingles somehow.
Like I stated, this is usually a good thing. If you have a lost child, or are sick, or need help of any kind, people are there for you. They hold fund-raisers, search parties, cook dinners.

But....sometimes...they also know your business before you do.

When my oldest son was a teenager, a policeman came walking into the cleaners and handed my husband a "ticket" our son had gotten the night before. He had failed to give our son his copy.

Another time, the Chief of Police found us at a restaurant where we were dining with other friends (yep the Chief was our friend too) and took my husband outside to tell him that our son's car had been found deserted and banged up in the desert a few miles out of town. Our son had just sold it and bought a new car....but the Chief didn't know that, and was concerned and wanted to let us know before we heard it somewhere. He wanted to make sure our son was safe.
Our son's OLD CAR had been stolen from the Used Car Lot.

All this is nice and comforting and such, but there are times when you don't want the whole community or neighborhood to know your business.
Like when the Handyman is working in the backyard---moving the dog house from one side yard to the other. A big dog house. A big huge dog house, that is awkward and heavy. Very heavy. And the Handyman has a bad back.
And it's a nice spring day, and the birds are singing and the butterflies are twittering about and the neighbors all around are also out working in their yards, planting gardens, enjoying some lemonade. And you are happy it's warm and the tulips are coming up and you step outside and notice your Handyman moving the heavy, awkward, big dog house and you say, "What are you doing?"
The birds stop singing, the butterflies stop twittering, people stop shoveling dirt in their gardens, the ice in the neighbors lemonade glass stops clinking. There is total silence in the air... because...they have all heard the Handyman. (sigh)

Yep, sometimes it's nice to be invisible.

So, I like it when I drive into Reno to go to my daughter-in-law's church. The 1st Methodist on the river. It's a huge old church. I am anonymous. I like it very much. Sometimes I just want to sit in silence and have 'spiritual' moment, a contemplative moment.

This Easter Sunday when the Handyman and I slipped into the pew I was so looking forward to that contemplative moment, that anonymity, and then, the man next to me started talking to me as if he knew me.... about the neighborhood my kids lived in. He said he had almost bought there years ago. He went on and on and on. His name is Ralph. He introduced us to everyone around him.

It seems he does know me now. I've attended too often for him not to notice. We are not anonymous anymore. We are visible. They'll probably put me on a committee soon.


This is the church on Sunday morning. I was taking the picture, sitting by Ralph. I was trying to capture the balloons on the ceiling--from the children's minute.


bermudaonion said...

I guess we have to take the good with the bad in everything.

Dizzy C said...

Beautiful photo.

Lovely post.


Karen said...

I *love* this post! And, even though I've never met you, I *love* you, too! :)

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