Time travel? Telepathy? What about invisibility?
It turns out that an invisibility cloak isn’t hard to come by, as I learned last week.
My friend was catering for a private party at an art gallery and asked me if I wanted to help her run the bar. I thought it would be a fun experience, reminiscent of the days I spent waitressing in Oxford, so I said Yes. The job was hectic but easy: all I had to do was pour wine and smile.
Working in service is just like wearing an invisible cloak: you could be anybody in the world, but clad in black trousers and a white shirt, you are a ‘nobody'. This affords an opportunity to observe other people unobtrusively.
A thirty-something woman spoke to me with such superiority and abruptness that I started questioning my own self-worth. It was, of course, ludicrous, but it is not rare to take an inconsiderate remark made by a colleague to heart. Let it be a reminder that our roles at work are just roles we play by day. Leaving the office, don’t take your 'work hat’ home with you.
A twenty-something man smiled and paid me an awkward compliment on my wine-pouring skills. It was unnecessary, but sweet of him. I knew instantly he was raised well by his parents, who taught him a life skill - to be polite.
A man in his forties called for help as he spilled a glass of wine. I arrived with a roll of paper towels, and he pointed at his shoes without even looking at me. I dried the floor very carefully, avoiding his shoes but taking in his conversation. Predictably, he sounded pompous and was unnecessarily loud. Luckily, I did not have to stand there and nod, unlike his companions.
Some people smiled, some people thanked me, some barely noticed me at all.
Towards the end of the evening, I ended up chatting to my colleagues, Love and Joy, originally from the Philippines. Love has a degree in Computer Science and used to work for a petrochemical company back home. Joy has a two-month-old baby.