I Am A Master Of DisguisePosted: November 21, 2011
Last week, I learned something about myself. I am a master of disguise. I can change my look instantly and effortlessly.
I discovered my ability at lunch. I was sitting in a restaurant by myself. It was quiet, and I was using the restaurant’s wi-fi to answer blog comments. I’d not gone out of my way to hide my true identity.
Things Get Strangely Ugly…
The door opened and someone I know from work came in. The hostess seated him at the table next to mine. As he walked to his table I looked up and asked “how’s it going?” He nodded, replied “good” without any particular feeling, then sat down without another word. I thought this was odd. I wasn’t finished having that thought. Another man came in. This gentleman had been in a class I had taught recently. He walked to the table where the first man sat. I greeted him, he nodded and sat down without speaking.
“Well, this is awkward”‘ I thought. I wondered what I could have done to offend these two. I’m pretty low-key most of the time, but sometimes I will agitate people. Or so I’m told.
I decided to focus on what I was doing, eat my lunch when it arrived, and leave. Leaving brought on another question. Should I say anything to these guys on my way out? Normally, I’d say goodbye, but since we really didn’t have much of a hello I didn’t think that was a good idea. Besides, I must have done something pretty heinous to be so completely ignored. I decided I would probably hear about it soon enough, I didn’t want to find out what I’d done in front of a restaurant full of people.
Then, things got worse. The guy who supervises the first two came in. I greeted him. I got a head nod.
This last development was particularly disturbing. Like a significant number of people who are moving up the promotional ladder in my organization, this supervisor had once worked for me. He got his first promotion while he was working with me. We had parted ways well and he’d always been friendly before. Now, it seemed something was wrong.
I ate my awkward lunch while I thought back, trying to remember what I might have done to be treated with such indifference. I just could not come up with it. I am forgetful, but I usually remember doing things that get people mad enough that they pretend I am not in the room. It was clear to me that the best I could hope for was to slip out of the restaurant. I paid my bill, left a tip and began gathering my things. Then it happened.
I picked up my glasses, put them on and started to get up. The entire situation changed. My former employee looked up and smiled. “Oma”, he said, “it’s you!” I told him I knew that. The others turned, looked at me and gave me the greeting I thought I was going to get as they came in the door. And then the supervisor said aloud what I was beginning to realize – “you didn’t have your glasses on, I didn’t know it was you”.
It was as if I was a completely different person, then I put on the glasses and became the guy they knew. If we didn’t do the head nod thing when they walked in I would have guessed I’d been invisible before I put on the specs.
I’ve been wearing glasses since I was twelve. Or perhaps they’ve been wearing me.
- Elvis Costello Sings Monster Went and Ate My Red 2 on Sesame Street (laughingsquid.com)