The Girl in the Green Fiat
As a child, I used to pretend to be invisible, a game fairly easy to play when one is little. Children are frequently looked over, or past, by grown-ups in the sea of strangers flowing through a department store or along a busy pavement and I could, in spite of my pint-sized stature, quite successfully become an international spy or runaway princess without ever attracting the sort of attention that would slam the fantasy shut. If I couldn’t even be seen, well then, I could be anyone, now couldn’t I? Another perk to being an only child, I suppose, as there wasn’t a sibling to call me out and spoil the fun. My imagination ran unrestrained and I learned early on that observing was far more satisfying that being observed.
Though I almost never play the invisibility game now, a bit of it still clings to my shoulders like fairy dust, requiring only a particularly evocative circumstance to swirl up and take shape once more. On a nighttime train ride or sitting with Edward at a sidewalk cafe on a rainy afternoon, it remains, even now, difficult to resist pretending to be someone else, sure in the knowledge that I cannot be seen. Ever the observer, I still stroll through my days feeling just a wee bit invisible and am always startled when someone stares my way or meets my gaze.
Therefore the circumstance in which I now find myself is unsettling to say the least, for ever since October when I fell in love with a pistachio green Fiat 500, my cloak of invisibility has evaporated like a poorly cast spell. The Fiat is new to the states, and my particular colour is, apparently, a bit rare. I have seen a red one, several white ones, and an especially attractive hunter green one, but it seems no one but me is currently behind the wheel of this certain shade of retro green. I have become, quite accidentally and a bit disturbingly, The Girl in the Green Fiat.
Old friends now follow me home, pulling up behind me in the drive with a gaily called, “I saw you leaving the library and just had to come by to say hello!”.
A couple of weeks ago I was traveling roughly thirty miles up to a favourite nursery on a quest for a hard to find shade of pink verbena. Upon pulling into the pine-needled lot, I heard the lady who works there yell out, “We were expecting you! My son just called and said he saw you driving through the square. We hoped you were heading our way!”.
And just last week, all the way cross town, I was zipping merrily down the road, singing along with The Kinks, when my cell phone rang. I answered it and heard the voice of a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a month or more. “You just passed by!! We’re getting cake! Turn around and come back to join us!”.
My little car, which I hasten to say that I love with a automotive passion heretofore unknown to me, attracts the sort of attention only a film star should warrant. People motion for me to roll down the window at stop lights only to ask if I do, indeed, love it as much as I should. And for any single women who happen to be reading this, I can verify that a pistachio green Fiat 500 is a man magnet of the first order. I leave the cleaners only to find a crowd of gentlemen clustered round it, their noses pressed against the glass. Men of a certain age, whose memory of this particular car and colour is no doubt tangled up with fleeting glimpses of pasta, Capri sunsets, and Anita Ekberg splashing around that fountain in Rome.
For someone with my propensity for camouflage and masquerade, all this unsought attention is bewildering. So I am making an appeal to all my readers. Go out and buy this car! Now! Not only will you adore it beyond all imagination but, slowly, surely, one by little green one, these wondrous machines shall become ubiquitous, the spotlight currently beaming in my direction shall begin to dim and I, mercifully, shall become invisible once more.
I assure you, I shall be forever grateful.