What Am I: Invisible?

Dear Robin:

I live in a neighborhood in which people are pretty tight. We have neighborhood parties and events and generally everyone gets along great.

The problem is one woman, I’ll call her “Cammie.” I have met her several times over the years – I’m talking about dozens and dozens of times – and every time she extends her hand as if we never met and gives me a very terse “nice to meet you.”

That’s if she is forced to talk to me. If she isn’t, she looks right through me as if she has never laid eyes on me. If I see her at the store, for example, she acts like she has no idea who I am and never says hello.

“Let it go” says my husband but I’m getting more and more annoyed every day. Words of wisdom? The holidays are coming up and I’ll be seeing her a lot.


Dear Cindy:

First let me apologize for delaying my response to you until now.

I received your letter in November and as so often happens lately I put it aside to use later, only to be frantically searching for it when my own experience reminds me I’ve lived this letter.  People like you assure me I’m not (that) crazy so thank you for that. Allow me to ramble a bit and then we’ll get to my advice for you.  

I have a “Cammie” in my life – let’s call her “Lainey.”  What you described above is exactly what I go through every time I see this woman.




Lainey is only interested in people she views as residing within the top tiers of the Portland Social Ladder, a ladder she has climbed with religious fervor since college through marriage and strategic friendships.  Lainey’s approach to growing her social network is not based upon common goals, principles, hobbies or interests, nor does it seem based upon any real affection.

Instead, Lainey goes about collecting people who are “somebody” in this town while simultaneously turning her piggy snout up at those like me who are not. Lainey is a warrior in this respect: a socially jingoistic bitch on wheels.

Then I married Mr. Patience and Understanding, a move that certainly nudged me up on the People Who Matter Scale whilst simultaneously bringing him down a few pegs.

Sorry, babe. That’s just the way things go.

Now here’s where it gets interesting: he knows her too and was very close with her father for decades. Guess what?

She treats him the same way.  Lest you think Lainey simply doesn’t like me (and that’s very possible as I am offensive to many) she is similarly rude to my husband, and everyone loves Mr. Patience and Understanding.  It’s annoying how well-liked he is, frankly.

Yes, I’m getting close to delivering you my Wisdom Pearls.  The problem with your question is today’s advice can be delivered in a few short sentences so I needed some filler.

How to Handle These People

Cindy, this is a very simple two-step solution to your problem, which really is less of a problem and more of an opportunity to have a good laugh every now and again.

1. The next time this happens, and hopefully it will be in a large group, say the following:

I have met you no less than 30 times, and each time you act as if we have never crossed paths.  

From this I can draw one of two conclusions: either you are incredibly rude and have some sort of issue with me or you are suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s, in which case sorry to hear that but you probably won’t remember this conversation tomorrow so I suppose I needn’t apologize after all.

2. The next time she ignores you, and she will, just laugh.  Remind yourself how lucky you are to live a genuine life with authentic relationships built upon affection rather than opportunism.

In my situation, my frustration built up over several years until I finally said to her,

“Seriously?  We have met dozens of times and live within a few blocks of each other and see each other all the time.  Are you really going to say ‘nice to meet you’ AGAIN?”

Lainey just rolled her eyes and went off in search of someone who could get her into Waverley Country Club and assist her with the removal of the giant stick protruding from her posterior.

Now I just laugh every time I see her, as I did Saturday when she walked right in front of Mr. Patience and Understanding and I and looked right through us.  We chuckled and raised a glass to her arrogance and snobbery, because if you can’t join ’em, beat ’em.



This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Cousin Eddie

    Wow. Looks like Lainey’s got the whole fist up there, eh Robin? Mooooon Rivvvvver . . . .

    I think Cindy’s best course of action w/r/t Cammie is to laugh AND shake her head. Trying to say all the other stuff will sound forced and will take way too long. It’s funny when you read it, but she may need to Taze Cammie in order to recite the whole thing. Remember, brevity is the soul of wit. Better to think it in the back of your mind while you laugh and shake your head in a “God, I hate your effing guts” manner.

    Mr. P/U is very likeable; that’s why I always invite him along to family reunions. Even if he’s not related, people instantly think he’s family. BTW – he told me if you strike it rich, he’ll let you quit one of your night jobs! Woo Hoo!

  2. Debbie

    Hmmm…. Cammie, really? My sister in law is named Cammie and fits this description to a T. How many Cammies are out there?

  3. Colleen

    I hate being invisible, too, and I guess that if someone repeatedly says “nice to meet you” that it would be OK to act like you don’t know them either and are now new acquaintances. Until next year, when you can snub each other again.

    I don’t know if I’d give the other person the power of knowing that I’m somehow offended that I’m not recognized, and silently acknowledge how shallow that person is. Plus, if that type of person isn’t acknowledging me, I know I have nothing that they want, and that is a good place to be.

  4. Atti

    I think she should extend a fingertip only limp handshake and say, while looking down her nose ( after giving this one the disdainful head to toe), in her most pseudo-polite slight sneer,” Charmed, I’m sure”. Then briskly turn about on her heel without waiting for the startled response. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Laugh heartily.

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