Invisibility in the Form of Cakes.
Throughout college, I waited tables (what a nightmare; more on that some other time).
This was a college town and mostly college students worked there. When they graduated, they planned their last days and everyone had a little back-of-the-house celebration for the bright-eyed fresh grad. There was always cake, and most of the time, a card.
The same thing happened on birthdays.
One day, I overheard a coworker talking about how it sucked he had to work on his birthday, but at least the computer said “Happy Birthday” when he clocked in (which I can only assume was sarcasm). I had to chime in.
“What?” I interrupted, “Mine didn’t say that!”
“It has to be on your birthday,” he said with a tone that seemed to suggest I either didn’t hear the first part of what he said or that I don’t know what a birthday is, “It’ll only do it on your actual birthday.”
“It was my birthday. Why would I be shocked if it didn’t say ‘Happy Birthday’ on a day that’s not my birthday?”
No one getting me a card or a cake or even remotely recognizing me on my birthdays or last days at a college job was one thing; I was awkward, I didn’t relate to most people, and I was very quiet. But even the computer, which was literally programmed to remember my birthday, forgot to say anything to me. That was the defining moment of my adult life that really confirmed to me that I am, in fact, invisible. The first instance of this occurred in the sixth grade, while I was walking behind a couple sidewalk-hogging friends who turned to let me know, when I chimed in a couple words on what I thought was a group conversation, that they didn’t even know I was there.