—– I was talking to our two dinner guests, Theo and Diane, about that day–I think it lasted a whole day–back in Vermont, when we were living in Ferrisburgh and I was always driving out on Route Seven, up to Ralph’s Market for donuts, and into Vergennes like to the hardware store–talking about that incredible day when we went driving, in the silver Toyota I think it was, and the car seemed to be, and proved itself to be, totally invisible. That’s right, invisible to all other cars, which we could tell because they would come out of sideroads right in front of us, and not slow down when we were in front of them, until we were shunted over to the side of the road, and they would sail right past. It lasted the whole day, three times we went out for one reason or another, from that big farmhouse on the hill, entering the landscape with increasing trepidation, and the last time in the twilight, which is dangerous anyway, all day swerving out of the way of other cars.
—–“Several times,” I said, like for emphasis, “we could have been killed several times.”
—–“You’re exaggerating,” responded Theo, after the women stopped laughing, and suspending his fork, which had just skewered a scallop, in the air. Then he looked at my wife, and said, “he is exaggerating, isn’t he?” My wife, who was in the car with me on that day long ago in Vermont, looked at Theo severely and shook her head.
—–“He was driving,” she then said, as if that was the defense I needed. “We were invisible for at least that entire day,” she added, “and I think he may be downplaying it somewhat, actually.” She knew, it was more than just a couple times when we were in someone’s blindspot, or the sun caused an erasure, say, of our small silver vehicle–it was more than a few blips, it was a sustained and significant episode that seemed, even, to be teaching us something.
—–Also, she was no doubt referring to the fact that for an entire week after this I wouldn’t let her go anywhere in the car with me. I went out by myself to test the reality of the situation, down the long driveway and out onto Route Seven, edging out into the always sparse flow of traffic on the two lane highway, and conducting various tests to make sure the car was actually being seen, keeping my distance from other cars, to see if I and my little Toyota were being reckoned with, so to speak, and respected, you might say, by these other cars. Gradually, I established that I and my car had regained visibility, and our rightful place on these roads, and the day we were invisible became but a memory, fairly non-threatening.
—–But it happened, cars and trucks behaved like we were not there, and tractors–one farmer with a hay truck piled high with bales about to fall off, came right out in front of us and we had to slam on the brakes, on that fateful day–I think it was a beautiful September day, and, I hesitate to say it, it seems so incredible, but I don’t think that farmer heard my car horn blaring at him, as we tried to swing around and pass him then. It was me and my wife (we were only just married, too, I don’t know how relevant that can be!), cozy but sort of doomed, inside our own, invisible, car.
—–“So what are you saying?” Theo tried to reign me in, and egg me on to make this hypertrophied memory . . . significant. Symbolic! People always want stories to quickly find their application, for some reason. I guess it makes them less . . . threatening?
—–“Gee, I don’t know,” I taunted him. “Unless it was an early sign from heaven, like a comet in the rear view mirror, informing me that I was to lead a life of increasing invisibility. It could be that.”
—–“Go on,” Theo said, clearing his throat as if he were going to speak himself, and then folding his arms and pushing his chair back from the kitchen table, so as to get comfortable for my coming confession. I would have preferred it if the other two were also listening, but those girls they always get into talking about their gardens and their paintings, if you don’t keep them engaged with something more than . . . cars. I don’t think my wife had ever attempted to make any supreme analogies, or dig deep into the strangeness and comedy of that one day in our halycon, honeymoon youth . . .
—–When she said, “he was the driver,” it was more than just in defense of my driving, it was a comment on my skills of perception. She gave me credit for being a reality-maker in those days, and still does, though perhaps the spheres–yes that’s a good word for it, spheres, in which we operate and have influence have changed . . . I was thinking–but I had to satisfy the demands of Theo, who was the one still listening.
—–So I just gave Theo the parabolic application, and became the martyr. “Take a look at my literary career,” I said, “am I not the very emblem, the high achievement, the epitome of invisibility!” He just looked at me with astonishment. “The excruciating pinpoint, the refutation of justice and even history itself, the stubborn flame, and dogged impossible pursuit of the impossible itself, I say!, and the obscure, the tantalizing, and the unreachable. Am I not?”
—–“You are some mudslinger,” he said. “And you mock yourself,” he added. Now there was thunder like applause and lightning like . . . all clarity! Outside, reality was undergoing another seismic shift, I swear. For when I rail, the world may not hear, but . . . the gods react!  Yeah, and now there was some racket in the other room, too, as the ladies had taken to looking through big art books, and slapping them closed like slamming car doors–and it sounded like they were dragging squeaky furniture around, while giggling.
—–“Should I tell you about how sometimes when I go into the tavern,” I said to Theo, “there are no places to sit, and it is like no one even sees me, and I can’t even get the bartender’s attention. And people jostle me, and try to walk right through me?”
—–“Spare us,” he said.

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