Theories as to why my motion-sensor shower light doesn’t think I exist
1. He’s an old light; dim (witted) a bit, maybe even senile. I don’t doubt he’s seen things he can never un-see, because this dorm room has housed thousands of students over so many years. And Paris is dirty in a lot of ways. Take from that what you will. Maybe that’s why he falters so much; the memories are too pungent. If this is the case, I shouldn’t take it too personally.
2. He heard from the automatic soap dispensers how funny it is watching me helplessly flail and thought about how long it’s been since he had a good laugh.
3. He has a personal vendetta against me. Possible reasons include: my shower sandals offend him, I shine brighter than he does, he doesn’t believe my Hibiscus Tahiti soap actually comes from Tahiti, I lied to him when I said I would work out every day and he can clearly tell, I refuse to make contact with any of his shower walls, I sing La Vie en Rose with too much flair for someone who doesn't know any of the words, I turn him on too much and/or he doesn't understand my new fear of locking bathroom doors.
4. I haven't moved in the shower for quite some time and, seeing as the motion sensor light turns on when he senses motion, he turns off. (This seems like the most unlikely case).
5. I’m invisible. As scientifically unlikely as this may seem, this phenomenon has happened in many scenarios here in Paris. Sometimes it’s on purpose; it’s when I try to blend in. This is optimal for walking along encountered side streets I want to observe without being bothered, riding the metro late at night without giving my mother a reason to worry (don’t worry mum!), and going into the same Boulangerie for the 4th time in one day without the pastry chef recognizing me.
But sometimes, it’s not on purpose. Like when I speak French to a coworker and they don’t answer me because I was too shy to speak French on the decibel level required for humans to actually hear what was just said. Or when strangers don’t smile back when I smile at them on the street, but rather avert their eyes because if they smile back it would mean obliterating the stereotype that French people are unfriendly. (They would rather I just remain invisible). Or lastly, when two French women cut in front of a line I had been standing in for 10 minutes because — nope I don’t know why they did that. Lucky for them I only spoke French in angry whispers they couldn't possibly hear.
If I had to choose one hypothesis, I would go with the automatic soap dispensers because those fuckers are cruel. And if the logic follows, I soon won’t be so invisible to the French for much longer. You see, my motion-sensor shower light is French. He grew up here. He likes baguettes. And even though he clicks off at the perfect time to get shampoo in my eyes, he still recognizes me eventually when I blindly swing all my limbs in his general direction.
So yet again, I’ll take what I’ve learned from a bathroom (this is a weird theme that’s developing) and I’ll apply it. Not literally, of course. I don’t think jumping around naked in front of those two rude women would have solved any problems. But I do think that being a little more of myself — that awkward, constantly flailing person — will gain a little more attention when I want it to. I’ll talk to my coworkers at the same volume I sing Edith Piaf, I’ll add a frantic wave to those strangers I smile at, and the next time two women cut a very clearly defined line? I’ll make sure they see me.