Friday, 2 March 2007

Maybe I'm invisible, maybe just scary, but please reply to my letters!

Up until now, I never thought I was an easy person to ignore.
After all, there's the undeniable similarity between my Taurean astrologicals and my bullish temperament. Like the bovine beast, I'm happy when left alone in a field, but unpredictable and moody when disturbed; stubborn and irascible when prodded or pushed to move in a certain direction.
Those closest to me see more of a bear figure; great for hugs and being protective, but capable of dangerous and downright terrifying behaviour when I perceive myself or my loved ones to be under threat.
Like both animals, I am capable of living a quiet unobtrusive life, but whenever I need to be seen or heard, there is no mistaking my intention.
Well, there wasn't, until recently, when I became invisible.
It all started with an act of trust.
Just after we moved into our new home, a man cleaned our windows and scraped out our gutters, pulled down some ivy and generally did a splendid job.
A couple of months later he came round to see if we wanted the windows done, but I hadn't any money, so I asked him to come back a few days later, which he duly did.
Trouble was, at that time, he couldn't use his ladders because there was a van parked in our driveway.
Feeling bad because I had asked him to come and now he couldn't work, I gave him the money up front, and he said he'd come back the following week to do the windows.
Several months later, he appeared on our doorstep, apologising, explaining that he had been unable to work due to a fall, but that he'd get right on to it now.
More weeks and months passed; winter storms came and went, and our windows got dirtier and dirtier.
First sign of Spring weather, yer man is back in our street, but doesn't call to us. I call him on the phone, and he says he's sorry. He forgot. He'll be round that weekend.
Our windows are still dirty. No, now they are filthy, and I am at a loss. Not only financially down, but wondering about levels of trust, and when I suddenly became invisible.
The other day, after finishing a piece of writing, I saved the document, but ten minutes later it reverted back to the way it was before I started it.
Thinking this was plain impossible, and potentially cataclysmic for my work, I emailed the company from whom I bought the computer and software, and received in reply an email that opened with no text on it.
I emailed back to tell them their email was invisible, and received no reply.
You know how it is when everything seems to be going wrong, and you hear yourself saying:
"I think it must be me, because it can't be everyone else!"
All very noble, but I dare say that deep in your heart you don't really believe a word of it.
You don't really think it might be you at all. Why should it be you? How could it be you, what with you being as damned fine and honest a human being as anyone might hope to be?
Trouble is, when bad patterns appear in your life, you're a fool not to spot them. When they move in, put their slippers by the fire and take a bath, it's time to question your methods.
Ever since we lived here, there has been a building site in operation right outside my bedroom window. The noise runs six days a week, and last Summer the site started around seven in the morning, and went on until late in the evening.
My nerves are shredded, my writing has disappeared, and I have been negotiating with the site owners to try and secure what I feel is not an unreasonable result:
That the site does not start until 8 am, Monday to Friday, at 10 am on Saturdays, and finishes each day by 6 pm.
I know most people are up way before 8, but we work shifts in this household.
Having tried and failed to attain these assurances, I finally wrote a long and slightly mad letter to the owner of the hotel in question. This epistle was not my finest hour, I will admit, but nevertheless I expected a reply.
Forgot I was invisible, didn't I!
Two weeks later I wrote another letter, asking whether the lack of reply meant that they had not received my letter, or that they had decided that they didn't give a damn about the hotel's neighbours.
Still no reply. How incredibly rude.
Feeling ever more invisible, several weeks later I wrote a third letter, this time more sane, assertive, insistent.
Within an hour my home and mobile phones rang, but I was in the shower. They had called at last. There was a message asking me to call back, yet they left no number.
I call back the number on my mobile, and am told that this is not the right number for who I want, and that anyway, he is not availiable.
So delighted am I to be temporarily visible, I leave a friendly message saying I will call back after my return from London, but after an exhausting and debilitating weekend with my ailing father, I decide against, as yet again I am in the rĂ´le of hunter, and have no energy for the hunt.
Why shouldn't I expect to hear from them? Do I think the window cleaner will arrive, ready and willing for work? Will I be be sent a helpful email from the computer retailer?
I'm not used to feeling invisible, and don't understand why people are plain ignoring me.
Maybe at the moment I am just plain scary. Maybe as a result of my depression I do not exude the schmoozy charm and social confidence that would normally help me achieve my goals.
Or maybe I am just surrounded by people who genuinely do not give a damn. They can live happily with a warm glow in their hearts, and sleep soundly at night knowing that they have my money; that they are denying my sleep and the peace to work; that my troubles are simply not worthy of their attention
Or maybe I am truly simply invisible.
Can anybody out there see me?

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