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hollow woman
a suburban mom develops an unexpected superpower
by juli mccarthy

When I woke up, it didn't seem like today was going to be extraordinary in any way. I drank a cup of coffee, read the paper, fed the cats. The cats ignored me in favor of a bowl of Purina Cat Chow, but there's nothing abnormal about that. I showered and dressed, then listened as my daughter stumbled into the kitchen, where she ignored me in favor of a bowl of Froot Loops. Nothing unusual there, either.

I left my preteen in the tender loving care of the Animal Planet channel and ran out to do some errands. I stopped first at a gas station. There was one person in line ahead of me, and he was just finishing up his transaction when a woman stepped in front of me to buy a candy bar. She paused, perusing the impulse items at the register.

"How much is this?" she asked the cashier, holding up a bottle of Binaca.

"It's 79 cents," I told her, pointing to the sign on the display. She looked over her shoulder, puzzled, then turned back to the cashier.

"Is this 79 cents?" she asked. She finished her transaction, then left, as the cashier looked right over my head at the man behind me in line. "Can I help you?" she asked.

More than a little irritated, I put my ten dollar bill on the counter, said "Pump six" and left the store as the cashier murmured an automatic "Thankyouandhaveaniceday." I got back into my car and started to pull out of the gas station when another car came zooming in and pulled right up to my front bumper. The driver threw his car into park and trotted into the store. I put my own car into reverse and backed out of the gas station, muttering several creative expletives.

At the grocery store, I was walking down the pasta aisle when the woman in front of me stopped suddenly and rapidly backed up nearly onto my shoes without a backward glance. Without even hesitating, she scooped up a box of rotini and hurried on. In the next aisle a group of teenagers walked four abreast, then came to a dead stop in front of a soda display. My "excuse me" fell on deaf ears, and I had to sidle between them to reach a case of Pepsi. They continued talking, completely unaware of my presence.

"Good grief," I thought. "I have become invisible!"

No wonder the lady behind the deli counter kept saying, "who's next?" while I waved my number 63 in the air over my head. I had always wanted to be invisible for a day, and here I had wasted the whole morning not even knowing. I decided to test my newfound superpower. I stepped over to the cosmetic counter and rubbed a dab of bright red lipstick on the end of my nose.

I proceeded to the checkout and wormed my way in between two chattering hausfraus who were blocking the lane. I snagged a pack of gum from the display between them, and they never even paused in their conversation. The checker rang my groceries up and held her hand out for my debit card. She placed my card on the counter when she was finished and automatically said "Thankyouandhaveaniceday." She never said a word about the
lipstick on my nose. I WAS invisible!

On the way home I stopped at a four-way stop sign and watched as five cars went through. Hmm. They didn't see me. Obviously contact with my body rendered my vehicle invisible too. I watched carefully for cross traffic then shot across the intersection, narrowly missing being whomped by a minivan.

I was unloading the groceries from my trunk when the UPS guy drove up. He walked right past my open garage door to the front door, rang the bell, dropped my package and hurried back to his truck. I was thinking about calling him back to complain about his handling of my delivery, when I remembered I was invisible.

I put the groceries away, cleaned up the kitchen and started making dinner. When my husband got home, he asked our daughter what we did today.

She replied, "Nothing much. I watched TV and wrote a letter to David and I think Mom was gone most of the day."

He walked into the kitchen just as I was walking into the dining room. We collided in the doorway.

"Geez! You scared me. I didn't see you!" he said.
"I know. That's because I am invisible."
"You are not invisible. And what is that on your nose?" he asked.

I explained that I had been invisible all day, but that apparently it was wearing off. I wiped the lipstick off my nose as he shook his head in wonder. He'd had no idea his mild-mannered wife had superpowers.

After dinner, he and I retired to the living room for coffee. I told my daughter to clear off the table and load the dishwasher. Ten minutes later, I went into the kitchen for a Pepsi and found that the table was uncleared and the dishwasher unloaded. I ran back into the living room and announced to my husband that a new unexpected superpower had taken effect. Now I was inaudible!

He said, "What?"


A whole gallon of attitude, poured into a pint container.

more about juli mccarthy


mother nature
summer end in suburbia
by juli mccarthy
topic: humor
published: 8.4.00


lee anne ramsey
8.23.00 @ 1:30p

So THAT's what it is! I've often had the same experience while "running errands" (as my mom used to say) but I hadn't put two and two together as you did here. In a very nice and entertaining way, might I add.

tim lockwood
8.25.00 @ 11:39a

I used to have the invisibility problem too, but only when behind the wheel of my Ford Escort. You have no idea how many times I was nearly vaporized by people who would pull out in front of me on a major road, totally clueless I was even there.

Apparently, I was invisible to radar, too. Many was the time I flew right through a speed trap and didn't get so much as an angry wave. /sigh/ I miss that car a little bit.

lila snow
9.1.00 @ 5:44a

Wow, Juli, invisible to everyone. Way cool. I'm only invisible to my 12 1/2 year old daughter, unless we're at the mall and I'm holding the Visa, which I guess reverses the spell.

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