Sunday 23 October 2011


Before committing myself to this title, I looked at the catalogue to see if I had used it already. Pithy titles do present themselves but it is not a good look for a blog for them to be too repetitious. I havent, (used it before that is), but I did learn that this will be the one hundred and twentieth post. Thank you for your continuing constancy and,I hope, interest. Anyway, what exercised my thoughts this time was the invisibility of the elderly. I have become so used to it that it has become the backdrop to everyday life, the backdrop you don't notice until someone knocks it down and builds something else in its place. Indeed, my senses dived in to disbelief only yesterday when I crossed a road I have crossed more times than you have looked at the moon to see, opposite me, well, nothing. A whole block of buildings, shops I have known all my London life, gone, disppeared, no more. A building site had taken its place. Something in the quality of light had changed, too. A sense of outrage crept in. No-one warned me, no-one asked me, no- one wondered if I could tolerate a change in vista, a loss of the known, as if I were invisible. Of course, in that regard, not only would I have been invisible, but also non-existant. What impinges on my daily life has rather more of a nuisance quality. Take the Post Office, for instance. I actually purchased a stick which converts in to a seat expressly for use in the Post Office, for the queues in the Post Office, anyway. It's true: that's exactly why I bought the thing. I sit there, propped, dragging it slowly with me as the queue snakes forward, well tortoises forward. Sometimes, on a brave day,I might note the back of the person in front of me, move to the front and sit, motionless, until the back has its turn and then take mine.

But I digress. I approach the Post Office with my usual careful snail gait along with any number of others approaching from the same direction or from some other. They overtake. They push passed. They cut me up without even the excuse of road rage. I am not one of them. I am not seen. The outcome is that, in the passage of seconds, there are six people ahead of me in that queue, although we all arrived at the door together. If it is in the middle of the day, before school is out, there may be only three people through the door at the same time as I, but all at a quicker pace. I am left wishing for a fairy's wand to waft them all into invisiblity. Buses: we Brits no longer queue, (stand in line). There was a time when the saying that one Brit waiting for a bus would form an orderly queue was as it was. Now, it's a herd of me-firsts with the longest legs winning and the push-chair and stick encumbriants waiting, invisibly, for the next bus. On London buses seats nearest the door are reserved for the not-so-able. There are picture icons indicating this, and words, too. Invisible, filled with young able-bodies who cant read neither. I am, though shrunk, not all that small. But people serving in shops can't see me. They see only the young,the middle-aged and men. "Excuse me" becomes my mantra, mounting, decibel by decibel to an un-fairylike shriek which has an effect quite different from that which I desired. One day, I shall let out the raving lunatic inside me, dress all over in pillar-box red, paint my face white, discard the fantasy fairy wand and ditch the stick with a seat for one with a broom. Then I shall be through the doors, transported, served and seen like all you visible mortals. Bora da

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the blog that reports on your appearance as described in the last paragraph!
Thanks, once again, for a wonderfully enjoyable blog with, at the same time, some sadly true insights into our society. Would you be equally invisible in, say, Japan?