This I Believe

Katherine - Alexandria, Virginia
Entered on January 24, 2007

I am invisible.

It is my super-power. I am a 47-year-old white female, middle-class and short. Wrapped in my cloak of invisibility have I used the staff entrance of Capitol Hill office buildings with no identification, I have gone beyond the rope line simply by ducking under it. No one stops me because I do not look threatening . . . or they do not see me.

If I could choose a super-power, invisibility would have been a second tier choice. The super heroes who grew larger and could fight were the best. However, invisibility was definitely better than shape shifting or disappearing. Not that I ever aspired to this – I only vaguely remember the cartoons.

But now I have this power. In the last year, the police for expired tags, broken headlights, and running a red light have stopped me. I am always apologetic and ready to accept the punishment for my infraction. But it doesn’t come – I am not even warned or reprimanded. This did not happen in my 20’s and 30’s. I flirted, I cried; but I got tickets.

I can return anything to a store even without the receipt. I only use my power for good; but I could probably use this invisibility to rob, steal, and pillage. No one would see me.

It used to bother me that I was invisible. I wanted to be noticed, admired appreciated. Nevertheless, I get a lot more done while invisible. I have more access to members of congress and more open discussions because I am not a formidable or intimidating presence. I thought aging meant forfeiting my ability to influence the discussion and decision-making but the opposite has happened. As a middle-aged woman, I am not a threat to the other players and I get a small degree of extra courtesy from the members. The less they notice me the more they like me.

I cannot complain about the results. Business is good. However, invisibility, while fun and productive, takes its toll on the ego.