Madam stopped in today to talk about our winter foray up North on the Gunflint Trail. Since food preparation is always top of mind for this snowy event, I figured she wanted to discuss my recent Pillsbury Bake Off winner. But she surprised me by opening our coffee klatch with a strange revelation:
“I’m invisible,” she declared while pulling off her chopper’s mitts and flumping on my horsehair lounger.
“Then why can I see you nibbling on one of my freshly baked nickerdoodles?” I inquired. “And, by the way, you’re wearing Dickie coveralls and an earflap hat. That makes you pretty visible in a crowd, if you ask me.”
She sighed deeply and eyed me as if I had grown a moustache.
Then I remembered reading on Wikipedia that humans start to shrink when they hit a certain age. Come to think of it, Madam did mention that she’d lost an inch or two over the last few years, but she’s still 5’8,” which seems visible enough.
Anyhoo, our Gunflint Trail planning session would have to wait. Instead I delicately asked Madam, “What was your first clue that you had become imperceptible?”
She pondered that for a moment. “It all started when the COSTCO checkout clerk handed me my grocery receipt and said, ‘Thank you sir.’”
“Ah… do you think it had anything to do with that fetching earflap hat you’re wearing? Or, perhaps COSTCO clerks aren’t trained in how to assist mature females dressed in coveralls accessorized by spurs.”
After holding forth about how countless horsewomen shop with their spurs on, she asked what I meant by mature females. This took me a moment.
“Then there was the hostess at Amy Lou’s House of Pancakes,” she quipped. “This woman could clearly see that I was next in line, yet she tossed the guy behind me a radiant smile and hauled him off to a table next to a sunny window. Or, how about last week when I got an audit notification from the IRS addressed to Mister M. Farr, Esquire?”
“Well, I suppose one could call that better news for you than for Mr. Farr,” I added encouragingly. She was on a role.
“Last week Geno’s Tru Test Glass delivered my new shower door to the Delrose family next door,” she pressed on. And two of my clients forgot to pay me, probably because they forgot my name. Why, just last night, a friend and I went to see Fifty Shades of Grey, and the guy at the window sold me a children’s ticket.
Oh dear, all this talk of vanishing caused me to wonder and worry. Was this an aging problem or a wardrobe problem? In either case, I’m getting a bit long in the tooth and short on the wardrobe, so it’s high time that I get myself in front of a mirror to see that I haven’t disappeared, too.
— Noah Vail
Noah Vail and Mary Farr have collaborated on a book, Never Say Neigh: An Adventure in Fun, Funny and the Power of You. Noah, author, philosopher, humorist, gin rummy ace and all-around “good news sort of guy,” blogs here. Never Say Neigh won an honorable mention in the 2013 Paris Book Festival. Their newest book, When Your Plan A Bombs, is due out this spring.