Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #57: Presence


woods presence


Do you shop at this store alot?

I looked around and my eyes settled on a woman about my age. Dark hair. Glasses. Head swiveling from shelf to shelf, before meeting my gaze.

Yes I do.

She smiled…Do you know where I can find the cornstarch? I’ve looked and looked.

We were standing in the baking aisle. Clearly the right place.

It should be in the baking aisle. Which is this one.

She thanked me and started to wheel her cart away, giving up the search.

I spotted 4 varieties of cornstarch on the top shelf and called out…I found it. Here it is.

Thank you so much!

She dropped the cornstarch into her cart and added…Now what can I do for you?

What can she do for me?
To be Clearly Present in a public place…
Seen. Heard. Acknowledged. Offered assistance.
A full circle personal exchange.
Quite Noteworthy.

Interesting thing about these advancing years. Well, maybe not so much interesting as downright alarming and often depressing…is how we become more invisible. When exactly did the page turn to this chapter?

When you start to fade from public view. Even when you are in the public view.

Was it a certain age? A shift in job status? The nest? What?

I am still trying to figure it out. It shouldn’t matter that I can’t walk as fast.
Drink as much. Eat the same. Sit as long. Stay up as late.
As I used to.

Obviously I didn’t pay close enough attention to any warning signs pointing to my impending invisibility. But perhaps there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Except to develop the presence of mind to reclaim my spot. When I’m ignored. Or dismissed. Interrupted mid-sentence. Deemed irrelevant.

After all, as the infamous line from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” repeats…I’m not dead yet!

Maybe if I’d known what to expect, I wouldn’t get as pissed off about it.

However…let’s think positive.

There is the grocery store. Which is a start. Apparently I am very present…not sure why. For random fellow shoppers – of all ages…with burning comments and questions: Is that a good brand of bread? What is the best gluten free pasta up there? Do you know that those detergent pods burn holes in your clothes? I love your sweater, where did you get it? Does that chicken look fresh? That broccoli isn’t too good, is it. Where do you get your hair cut? I can’t find a damn thing in this store since they remodeled it, can you?

And a few days ago…What can I do for you?

I understand about being present in my personal life.
But me, myself and I is not enough.

In the meantime…at least I know where the cornstarch is.




17 thoughts on “Presence

  1. Wow, that’s so unusual these days. Someone asking what they can do for you! There are so many, maybe too many choices in grocery stores today. That’s a good thing of course… I moved house almost a year ago, started using a different grocer. So confusing! The store’s physical layout is very different, and the placement of items makes zero sense in some places. Grrr.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is disturbing to become increasingly invisible as we age. I know just what you are talking about. Seniors are largely disregarded as potential consumers in particular.
    The best defense is a good offense, as you point out. Speak up, be present, engage people in conversation. And so wonderful when someone asks if they can actually help you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a well written post. I sometimes think of getting a t-shirt printed up that says: Of all the things I aspired to in my life, being an obstacle wasn’t one of them. Slow moving and invisible except when I get in someone’s way. No one ever told us about that. Loved this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this. At age 65 and retired, I find myself constantly looking for ways to remain relevant vs. feeling invisible in our youth obsessed culture. Its not easy. Being involved with volunteer work helps, but connecting with friends and family takes me further down the road to feeling relevant. These relationships are based on personal history and are so meaningful to me. Nevertheless, when you are in the grocery store or elsewhere I agree that you just have to jump in and speak to people.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Invisibilibity was a real issue for me when I moved to the “big city”. A bit of a shocker! It seems more pronounced than when I lived in a small community. I’ve had random people acknowledging my presence through a smile or leisurely discourse, and then once in a blue moon, someone engages me in their life story which is so intriguing. All it takes is eye contact and a friendly word. Seems to occur in the parking lot of a grocery store. It got me to thinking that all ages can feel invisible at times.
    “To develop the presence of mind to reclaim my spot” is true wisdom for the invisible ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t it interesting how this often occurs in or near a grocery store? Perhaps shopping for food immediately gives us something in common and eases the shift to communicating with a stranger. Eye contact and a friendly word can make a world of difference.
      Thank you for your comment!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s