If You Were Invisible For A Day . . . 6 Writers Weigh In
The Establishment has partnered with The Write Club SF — tagline: “Literature as Bloodsport” — to host a reading exclusively featuring female writers. In preparation for the event, we asked the six participants to answer the following question:
As female writers, you’ve been granted the dubious superpower of being invisible! Given your inability to be seen or heard, how do you spend your ideal afternoon?
To hear more from these writers, check out the reading at The Makeout Room . . . tonight! At 8 p.m.
I’d take myself to the symphony. I’d sit right on the stage, next to MTT, or whoever’s on that night, listening to the woodwind and string players all breathing in synch. Maybe I’d lay on my back, on the stage, and feel the music move through the floor and into my bones, and relax into the knowledge that I will never have to hear another mouth-breathing future Trump voter scream, NICE TITS! at me while I carry home groceries.
If I was invisible, it wouldn’t matter if I walked around naked, so I would spend my afternoon blissfully free of pants AND the male gaze. As the invisible woman of color nobody knows is there, I’m sure I’d see and hear conversations we like to pretend don’t happen when we’re not around . . . and I love the idea of messing with people who do harm to others, like some sort of invisible naked superhero kindness enforcer, scaring folks into re-thinking their secret prejudices.
As a woman, I always feel visible. More particularly, I always feel like a potential target for unwanted attention, whether it be catcalls or something more sinister. And growing up, my father (who is a journalist) used to tell me real-life horror stories every morning over breakfast about the-terrible-things-that-happen-to-girls-that-do-anything-anywhere-ever. So as a kid, I didn’t hop fences or smoke weed at the park or explore abandoned buildings or have any sort of fun at all, for fear of ending up as a sensational headline (e.g. “Young Woman Loses Feet to Bear Attack After Stupidly Walking Alone in the Woods Where No One Could Hear Her Scream”). So my ideal invisible lady afternoon would probably not look all too different from the perfectly average afternoon of a 12-year-old boy; I’d get into some fairly innocuous mischief, or y’know, just enjoy the rare opportunity to wander by myself without fear.
I am definitely into behaving like a poltergeist. It’s not a nice thing to do, but this is a fantasy right?! I’ve always wanted to run down the grocery store aisles dragging everything off the shelves as I went. Particularly the honey and spaghetti sauce jars. I would sing all my favorite Cole Porter and Ani DiFranco songs — like “S’Marvelous” and “Both Hands” — at the top of my lungs with full choreography, tossing confetti into the air as I nail each final note. Stark naked of course. I would wear a a big red glove with a big red stamp that said RUDE and whack all the faces of all the men making women feel like undercooked steak when they’re just trying to live their goddamn lives. I would try and pet | kiss some wild animals at the zoo, sniff out a couple recesses to fuck with some bullies, maybe leave a choice poo or two on the desks of some evil corporate fatheads, steal a sailboat, a case of champagne and Orangina, and throw a moonlight regatta rager with all my pals.
I would use my power of invisibility to combat the gnawing sense that every stranger I see has my number and can tell I’m a terrible, lonely person. I would do all the activities I never do because those activities solo would make a grim tableau for an innocent bystander. Eating dinner at a packed romantic restaurant while freely shoving all the bread in my mouth, going to see a concert and dancing spastically, or reading a book at a bar without fear of the thought, “Look at that weirdo trying to impress strangers with her ‘reading.’” Or if I’m feeling particularly lonely, I’d probably sit in on a couple’s date to do a running commentary. “Oh Jenna, boo boo, Ben is never going to Linda’s birthday party with you, he fucking hates Linda!”
I would hit up some craycray expensive eateries where I generally can’t afford to buy the world’s finest foie-gras infused oyster, finished with truffle shavings and topped with miniature heirloom cherry tomato caviar, and just steal plates as they come out of the kitchen. Then I would take them all to Lake Anza for a picnic and go swimming on the sunny side, where they always yell at you to get out! Then maybe go smoke some weed in a movie theater, sneak into some museums, cut flowers out of all of the gorgeous yards, and tie rude peoples’ shoelaces together. And then I’d text all of my friends, because I’d be lonely and bummed to not be seen or heard for very long, and I’d ask anyone if they wanted to make videos of us playing ghost tricks on people.