A Small Town: Part I On Being Seen

My town is definitely a small town. Which means I’m not invisible. I don’t have to be eccentric, or construct a specific persona for myself. Sometimes ,I wonder though if it’s my dog rather than me who is being noted. Once, in Florence, I was walking down a street near the cathedral and I felt truly invisible. People passing by might even have to stop to let me cross the street, but if you asked them later to describe that person, they would use the typical Italian expression “boh”, meaning they had no idea. Here I am constantly surprised at how many do know me. I may recognize them, and generally can place them, but couldn’t tell you their names. I guess that after having been around so long I am sort of what they call a “fixture”.

So, yes, it’s a small town. Which has its advantages. My sons always know where I am and when, even without a tracker. Aside from being admonished never to go anywhere without my phone, there’s a local live network one can depend on. Say I forgot to turn on my phone after having been at a lecture. I may then find a message on my computer from one or the other of my sons, asking what I was doing in Piazza Duomo at 11 that morning. Or on the Corso. Someone saw me. Someone said “oh, I saw your mom this morning at 11 o’clock.” Tracking devices can of course be useful if one gets lost in the woods. Of course at my age I’m not likely to go traipsing around in the woods. Or I might fall down and need help – but there is no lack of, let’s call them acquaintances, who will alert my sons or call an ambulance.  No, I’m not invisible, people know who I am. To be on the safe side I realize that it wouldn’t be a good idea to go walking in the park after hours where no one would see me. The gossip chain is still quite active, generally in a good way, but oh dear what would I do if I wanted a clandestine relationship? Of course, at my age that’s highly unlikely.

3 thoughts on “A Small Town: Part I On Being Seen

  1. I wonder whether you have considered trying disguise Erika. Two contrasting strategies occur to me. The more obvious would be to try to dress convincingly as another type of person : a man perhaps, or a young woman. The alternative might be to wear something so outrageous that no-one can believe that it’s you inside. There could be a lot of fun in that.
    I just offer you these suggestions. There’s no charge!


  2. Sounds rather Shakespearean. However since I don’t consider having a clandestine affair, that might not be necessary. It woul be fun to dress like my lampshade lady, but carnival is past and of course I have two sons who would frown were I to do something like that.I’m also much too timid and would find it hard to get out of character.
    A note aside. My sons both just phoned asking if I had felt the earthquake. However I’m practically on the ground floor with very thick stone walls and did’t feel a thing.


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