Wizard fun & guerrilla grins
Fiona Barber has developed a magical power – and she’s having lots of (mostly innocent) japes with it.
We’ve got something in common, Harry Potter and me. I cannot cast spells and last time I looked I didn’t have an owl in my handbag, but we both have a cloak of invisibility.
The boy wizard’s comes out in times of emergency; mine is part of my everyday wardrobe.
Chances are you’ve got one too if you are (a) a female of a certain age and (b) can’t be arsed containing the badger stripe in your hair with dye and have let the blessed critter roam free.
I was at the bus stop when I realised the cloak had been surreptitiously draped over me.
Dodgem-bumping from fellow commuters storming the 5.05pm express and the odd clamber-overthe-top incident in the aisle were irrefutable pieces of evidence. I was the proud new owner of an invisible cloak. All of a sudden, I did not exist.
At first it was unsettling – society has made it pretty damn clear that as a woman, much of your value is on your youth and the way you look – but it didn’t take long to realise that this was a gift. Yup, you might not have the knee joints you once had and some bits of anatomy have given up their long, futile campaign to remain attached firmly to your body, but invisibility gives you tremendous scope elsewhere.
There’s sartorial freedom for one. Trackies well past their best-by date and catfur-coated polar fleece to Countdown? No problem. Makeup-free days, every day? Why not? Heels? Instruments of torture consigned to the recycle clothes bin.
But wait, there’s more: If they can’t see you, they can’t see you coming. Ambush! There is serious sport to be had, my friend.
My fave is to look into the eyes of oncoming walkers well before they are about to pass, say gidday and smile. If they ignore you – as some inevitably will because, well, you are invisible – you leap in front of them and flash your biggest, toothiest, gummiest smile.
The only drawback with guerrilla grinning is that, at my age, teeth-baring may appear rather menacing and some recipients look a tad disturbed. Though I’m happy to report no visits from the police. Yet.
If there’s a lesson for the young, it’s this: The old(ish) grey mare, she ain’t what she used to be. She’s way more dangerous.
And there is much to look forward to.