Monday, April 5, 2010

Nowhere Man

Last week, Jeff and I watched a Henry Rollins speaking tour DVD. It was hilarious and angry and dark like one would expect. Surprisingly, Rollins did a few minutes about how everyone is “hot.” He explained that no matter how we individually feel, there is always someone out there checking us out. This made us laugh, especially considering that about 5 years ago, I self-proclaimed myself as “hot,” knowing the absurdity of the statement, but using it in an effort to feel a bit more confidence. It seemed to work for a few weeks early on, before I once again forgot to believe that I’m hot. Whether or not I believe that I’m hot, or submit to the truth: that I am not (aside from that one freak that according to Rollins is checking me out); I am beginning to wonder if I am even visible.

As long as I can remember, I have been one of those people who seem to go unnoticed. This is not a complaint. Sometimes being easily forgotten or invisible has its benefits. There have been many instances when I should’ve found myself in trouble (especially during High School) for certain shenanigans, and found myself sneaking away blameless. There was that one time when I shoved Larry off of the third story deck of Dorian’s apartment years ago and couldn’t convince him that I was the one who did it. I am frequently, one of those people who can be introduced to people repeatedly, because they never remember our previous encounter. Again, this can often be a good thing. How many times have you wanted a second or even a third chance to make a first impression? Believe me, it is an opportunity that I relish, because I never feel good about how I come across. But why should I worry, when no one will remember anyway?

Of course there are also the downsides. I can be at a business and find myself completely ignored for endless stretches of time. I am the guy who goes to the bar and never gets served, even if there are no other customers. The most unusual case of feeling invisible that has happened to me on several occasions is when I find myself downtown at the edge of a curb at a crosswalk waiting for the signal to change and someone will walk over and stand directly in front of me. And when I say in front of me, I mean so close that I have to move back, or my nose would be buried in the back of their head. It is mysterious. It’s moments like that, where being a seeming ghost really sucks. I understand my invisibility in many instances, because I am very quiet and reserved and can sometimes exhibit an endless amount of patience. What I do not understand is always being the breaking point in a line that people decide to cut through. I am not a small guy yet, when waiting in a long line for something, I am inevitably the weak link, which will allow passersby the get through from one side of the line to the next. Do I exude some signal that lets people know that I am the weakest link, or am I simply invisible?

So, where does this leave me with my experiment about being hot? I’m not so sure. There are always exceptions to every rule. If we accept Rollins’ theory that everyone is hot as a truth, then I need to find a way to become visible. It’s hard to be hot when you’re not really there.