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Old 23-01-2019, 13:33   #1
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Becoming Invisible

Boatman61 remarked in another thread that he had started to become invisible at age 60, and has now become completely invisible. I sort of knew what he was talking about, because it has happened to me, but only on land, as opposed to the sailing environment, and it is pretty disconcerting, if you're used to being treated like a human being, rather than a non-entity.

For the thread to run, one's story has to be loosely related to cruising, or in my case, sailing. Here's the first time it happened to me as a grownup. [It happened once or twice as a kid.]

My knees got really bad, and so, we arranged for a wheel chair at the airport when we were flying back to the States for my bilateral total knee replacements, the first time. I wanted the surgeries so that I could continue my lifestyle. When I was being pushed in the chair, NO ONE made eye contact! It really was as if I didn't exist. It was creepy. ...And, I bet it happens a lot to people in wheel chairs. It made me start looking at them and smiling at them. It can be pretty lonely there.

As I have aged since that time, I find, ashore, I am sometimes invisible, but I am lucky in that amongst other sailors, it doesn't happen, probably because those are mostly social situations, rather than everyone having something else on their mind.

*****************

Anyhow, if anyone has an invisibility story to tell, that's related to sailing or cruising, here's a thread for it.

Ann
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Old 23-01-2019, 13:40   #2
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Re: Becoming Invisible

Ann, I wonder if I’m guilty of that. I was raised not to stare at people. Especially those less fortunate.
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Old 23-01-2019, 14:04   #3
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Re: Becoming Invisible

Iím not sure I can relate (yet?) to your experience Ann. At 51 I guess Iím not yet completely ignorable. Although, since hanging up most of my professional activities I do feel a little ignored; a little Ďout to pastureí. But I donít think thatís quite the thing youíre getting at.

I do have a bit of an opposite story to relay. When I was 20 I suffered a rather significant accident (a long drop and a sudden stop) which put me in a wheelchair and eventually in a walker and then crutches, for a lengthy period of time.

What I experienced was the opposite of being invisible. I felt way too visible. People would notice this 'poor young lad.í They would fall over themselves to Ďhelpí even when I did not want it.

At that point in my life I really wanted to be less visible.
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Old 23-01-2019, 14:11   #4
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Re: Becoming Invisible

It seems to happen to me anytime I go into McDonald's. Don't know if it's an age thing or ..........
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Old 23-01-2019, 14:22   #5
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Re: Becoming Invisible

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It seems to happen to me anytime I go into McDonald's. Don't know if it's an age thing or ..........
Na, they just know your a cruising sailor & are on a budget.

I've felt invisible many times during my life. I always figured it was just Gods way to point something out to ya....
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Old 23-01-2019, 14:30   #6
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Na, they just know your a cruising sailor & are on a budget.
.
I thought that's why folks ate at McDonalds..
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Old 23-01-2019, 14:31   #7
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Re: Becoming Invisible

I briefly worked in a fancy downtown skyscraper. One day I was working on a friend's car and had to stop by the office for something.


I was wearing a coverall (boiler suit). It was like I didn't exist. I would look at people and smile, which is what I do, and --- I didn't exist. Invisible. It was creepy.


The next day I wore usual business attire and was once again visible, and people smiled back.
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Old 23-01-2019, 14:46   #8
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Re: Becoming Invisible

There's lots of reasons to be unworthy of attention, it seems!

Mike, I've had that, too, but have come to realize that those people are trying to respond compassionately, based on what they've been taught. Not everyone is taught to ask first if you'd like help. It is sort of demeaning to have it forced on you, which fails to recognize the "you" on the inside of your body, so to speak. Asking first, and doing what the recipient prefers, is what I do, I hope, when it's appropriate. Sometimes one just goes and does it, like when someone's painter breaks, and you go catch and return their dinghy.

Ann
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Old 23-01-2019, 15:12   #9
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Re: Becoming Invisible

We had rowers crash into our boat 3 times in Sydney harbour. Once it was a coxed 8, had someone facing forwards, steering!

The only possible excuse I could come up with was that our 44 foot long, 60 foot tall boat had somehow become invisible.
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Old 23-01-2019, 15:14   #10
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Re: Becoming Invisible

These days it's fairly easy to solve the invisibility problem. Just wear a MAGA hat.
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Old 23-01-2019, 15:14   #11
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Re: Becoming Invisible

Hi Ann,

Since semi-retiring from over 50 years in business, there are more and more times I have become invisible to others. My Filipino wife and I live in a relatively upscale area where our family property is located. We are only here because the property has been in the family for 70 years. When I take my daily walks, many avoid eye contact with me. In business, as the owner, many paid attention to me. Now I find with little authority and much less money almost no one stays in touch with me. Our 44' Nauticat is almost finished and I often dream of a trip from Baltimore to Manila and then a circumnavigation but the insurance companies don't seem interested to help us. Here in the U.S.A. in my lifetime it has all become about the money/status/youth/beauty. These are the people that everyone pays attention to. The large companies helped to drive me out of business along with employees who did not want to work. Honestly, now being invisible has become a daily event for me. Don't get me wrong, there are some KIND Americans but they are the exception now. Having gone to Manila 13 times now, I greatly prefer the poor Filipinos. If you want me to share a becoming invisible story, no problem. I have many now to tell. Never thought this would happen. America will never be great again until we learn to treat others the way we want to be treated. When I had a 53' Hatteras everyone looked at me. Now I have a 1981 Nauticat 44' that looks no so good on the outside but has had a ton of work done on the inside where it matters. Beauty is only skin deep they say. Our Nauticat is beautiful on the inside with plenty of new wiring/machinery/steering. So I try very hard to look for the true beauty of people and things too. Take good care. Michael 410-913-2330
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Old 23-01-2019, 15:21   #12
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Re: Becoming Invisible

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...Mike, I've had that, too, but have come to realize that those people are trying to respond compassionately, based on what they've been taught. Not everyone is taught to ask first if you'd like help. It is sort of demeaning to have it forced on you, which fails to recognize the "you" on the inside of your body, so to speak. Asking first, and doing what the recipient prefers, is what I do, I hope, when it's appropriate. Sometimes one just goes and does it, like when someone's painter breaks, and you go catch and return their dinghy.
Very true. People were responding out of concern and care. It kinda relates to your experience in that I think if Iíd been 75+ years old, fewer people would have even noticed. I would have been ďinvisible.Ē The fact that I looked young (which I no longer do ), brought out the empathy of others.

Like you, I try to treat everyone the same. Iím happy to assist people, but I usually donít assume they need or want my help, even if they appear less capable than I.

Ö but this is heading off in a different direction than what you are asking. Iíll stop now.
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Old 23-01-2019, 15:29   #13
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Re: Becoming Invisible

Shen my Father passed many folks at work went out of their way to ignore me. I get it, you don’t know what to say and it akward.


On the other hand, a couple of years before sailing off I decided to let my monk ring and head grow. Just being ornery and anticipating the change of life style. And I figured it would keep me out of client meetings.

What a let down. They still drug me to negotiation sessions!

On the up side the occasional young lady would give me a sly smile as we passed. YES!
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Old 23-01-2019, 16:09   #14
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Becoming Invisible

Ann, first the cruising bit. We took a break from cruising for my single total knee replacement 10 months ago. Recovery takes a year as I was told but longer than I believed. By the way my keel didnít fall off while I (not the boat) have been on the hard. After my the surgery I was walking right away but with a walker. I experienced the cloak of invisibility too. I was suddenly the old guy with the walker. A few people were gracious and held doors open but most acted as though I wasnít there or they rushed to get around me so they didnít have to wait behind me. It was quite a lesson in what people with disabilities deal with all the time.

Age? Yeah there is that too. Once, when I was in my mid 20s I was at a fast food restaurant near a college campus. My order wasnít up right away so I was asked to step back to let others order. When my food was ready the kid behind the counter asked the cashier whoís order this was. He pointed at me and said, ďthe old guy in the back.Ē
I guess age related invisibility is a matter of perspective.
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Old 23-01-2019, 16:35   #15
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Re: Becoming Invisible

When I was younger, 65, people started to offer to do things for me like jump onto the boat to secure it after a haul out, lift heavy stuff onto the boat, pick up stuff I'd dropped and other helpful things. At first I was a little offended that people would think I was so decrepit I couldn't do this on my own. As I've gotten more mature, 74, say what the heck, if others volunteer to save me from doing things that aren't so easy anymore, there are a lot of them, let them. Makes them feel good and saves my back. Other than I'm invisible to 20 something women, haven't found age has made me invisible.

Just an aside. There's a bar in Carlsbad, CA that caters to the more mature set. It's mostly open air with cover bands playing moldy oldies and usually have a crowd on the dance floor. We go there occasionally when a friends band is playing. I was standing near the entrance when a group of young women who were on the prowl, must've heard the music and wandered in. One of them stared directly at me, looked me up and down, turned around and hustled her group out of the bar.
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