Strangers

While wandering through town early this morning on a mission to complete a number of random errands, I began noticing the many and various strangers crossing my path.

The two trophy moms, stopped in the middle of the footpath, discussing the benefits of giving birth in hospital versus attempting a home-birth. They both wore close fitting striped woollen tops, had perfect leather handbags dangling from their shoulders, and jeans that may have been new this week. Neither had a hair out of place, and one of them wore enormous sunglasses. Their makeup was immaculate too – I wondered if they were just out to be seen, rather than to actually achieve anything.

The father and daughter cycling on footpaths all over town. He was dressed in that curious “too old to be a hipster, but trying very hard” way that Dads so often do. He had no bike helmet, but his daughter did. He seemed to have no problem at all cycling among the pedestrians even though there was little traffic around – which caused me to become silently furious. Oh how I wished a policeman might walk around a corner and fine him heavily.

The entire cafe full of pretty people. The cafe started out as an artisan bakery and delicatessen last year, and was quickly seized upon by the local glitterati as “the place to meet”. Now things have calmed down a bit, it is permanently filled with either wealthy retired people, or childless twenty-something couples with labradors and retrievers tied to the railings outside. The windows of the cafe are permanently steamed up – no doubt as a result of the breathless conversations going on inside about skiing holidays, and new cars.

The early-twenty-something walking a few steps ahead of me on the way home. I loath attaching the “Hipster” label to him, but he was trying so hard, it would seem unfair not to award it. I’m not sure if it was the scruffy beard, the side parted hair, the skin tight jeans, the loafers with no socks, or the Apple Watch hanging from his wrist. Perhaps it was a combination of everything.

As I wandered the last half mile back towards home, I wondered how other people see me. A hassled Dad, wearing whichever clothes were clean after dragging himself through the shower this morning. No time or money to sit in a cafe and laugh the day away. Always going somewhere to get something for somebody, or to do something for somebody else. I wondered if my invisibility on the bicycle I commute to work on extends to crowds in town too.

Sometimes I wonder if invisibility might actually be easier than being ignored.

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