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Location: PDX, United States

Monday, November 13, 2006

Invisibility Cloaks

I had a really unsettling series of experiences during my last week in Seattle. My eyes had been bothering me all summer and I decided to give them a vacation from my contacts. This is always a disorienting experience for me because I don't see as well wearing glasses. They throw off my already iffy depth perception and it usually takes me at least four days to adjust to the different way of seeing.

I noticed as soon as I made the switch to glasses that people didn't look at me as often, and they definitely smiled at me less. I also attributed the crappy service I got in restaurants and bars to my glasses. I wondered if I would have had a different experience if I'd had a cuter pair of glasses. I'd still like to get some, but the experience rattled me enough to cut my eyes' vacation short. I switched back over to my contacts after only three days.

I shared this experience with M. the other night, and she'd had something similar happen. She was dating a guy who lived in another state. She'd just started a new job and they were being stingy about giving her days off. She really wanted to see her boyfriend and had already bought a plane ticket. She decided she would go visit him despite not being able to get the day off, and just call in sick to work.

Luckily for M., the day before her trip, she found out some of her coworkers would be on the same flight. She decided to disguise herself, reasoning that they didn't know her very well and probably wouldn't recognize a disguised version of her.

She chose a mom-in-tennis-shoes look, wore a wig, enormous sunglasses, and stuffed her clothes so that she looked twenty pounds heavier. She got on the plane, walked right past her coworkers without a hitch, found her seat, and reached up to put her bag in the storage compartment. As she did so, she accidentally bumped into a man in aisle, who visibly recoiled from her. She was angry and thought to herself, fuck you asshole, I'm actually really cute.

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