(Image: Pol Úbeda Hervàs - I'm Not There)
I sent off for an invisibility cloak. I've had it a while now. When I put it on I'm completely invisible. I like being invisible. Well, I like not being seen, you know, going unnoticed. I rarely take the cloak off now. The cloak allows me go about my daily business without fear of being recognised. Recognition is a fear of mine. Have you ever been recognised yourself? I don't just mean 'spotted', I mean actually recognised. I can't stand it. I'm ashamed of myself you see. For the longest time I have been dogged by a sense of embarrassment that is caused by being me. It's like the feeling teenagers get when they are seen with their parents only I get it when I'm seen with myself, which is always, unless I'm wearing the cloak. I love the cloak.
When the cloak is on, my unbecoming physical carriage is concealed as is my appalling dress sense and my facial expression of acute defeat. The only thing I could possibly do to mess up my day is say something stupid but I recently had my vocal cords severed so that too is no longer a concern. I'm only made detectable by the shopping list I carry. As far as others are concerned, I'm just a floating piece of paper with words like 'sausages', 'eggs', 'washing up liquid' and 'Chambourcy Hippo-Tots four pack' written on it. The people of the town don't bat an eyelid. There's a few of us using the invisibility cloaks around here. There's a lot of floating shopping lists and wallets and briefcases. There's a lot of people who want to continue availing of the world while not actually being part of it. It's a beautiful planet, it's a pity to mar it with oneself.
Personally, I think everyone should wear invisibility cloaks. Maybe kids shouldn't, so we can keep an eye on them. Kids have nothing to be ashamed of anyway. But the rest of us, my God, the things we have presided over or instigated, allowed happen or failed to make happen. Really, I'm astonished most of us still show ourselves in public. We should all be invisible and we should all get our vocal cords done too. Then the only way left for us to mess things up would be to write something down, as I am here. Writing would be the only remaining threat to our culture of ultra-discretion. A ridiculous blogpost, an angry text, a love letter to someone who doesn't love you, a ransom note to the wealthy parents of the nervous child in your box room. All of these things are likely to occur if we retain the ability to write. But I have a solution to this threat. All keyboards, pens and writing implements of every sort should be rigged with a fatal booby trap that will activate should the device detect that you are writing something other than a shopping list or a purely utilitarian combination of words such as 'out of order' - which, incidentally, happen to be the words I want engraved on my tombstone.
I'm not sure how the writing devices would be able to detect what you are writing but I'm sure some clever person out there will figure it out. I'm too stupid to sort out that kind of thing myself. My stupidity is another deficiency that is evident when I am sans cloak. My stupidity is visibly demonstrated by my clumsy gait and open mouthed breathing. I really am a pitiful sight. I look like a stupid dumbass just like you look like an arrogant jackass or a wonton tart or a violent thug or a scared little bug.
Yes, we should all be invisible, all of the time. Well, ...most of the time. There might be occasions in my unseeable utopia when it is appropriate to take off our cloaks and reveal ourselves. These would be the times when we need to be together. To share moments of visual and tactile intimacy. On these occasions we'll uncover ourselves and stand naked before each other, revealing our scars and stretches, our folds and wrinkles, our distended packages and unimpressive appendages. All of these things and, of course, our eyes. Our vulnerable eyes, staring into the vulnerable eyes of another, with no cloak, no chatter, no hoodie, no shades, no Facebook profile page to protect us. Just ourselves, completely naked and hoping not to be rejected.