How — no one asks — is it possible to achieve the level of anonymity I enjoy every day?
It wasn’t easy, but at least it was quick. Anonymity was thrust upon me when I least expected it; overnight, I was a household name-less, even more undistinguishable than the woman at the drive-through who hands you your cup of coffee, every morning. You know the woman I’m talking about. She seems so familiar, yet you can’t be sure if she was the same person who handed you your cup yesterday, or who will hand it to you tomorrow. You forget her the moment you hit the freeway.
That’s the kind of fame-less-ness I’m talking about. Let me give you a real example of my gift for remaining completely unknown. Nay, even better: for my ability to blend so seamlessly into the indifferent world that my personal brand becomes a personal bland, the hallmark of obscurity.
People often come up to me and ask if my name is Linda (nothing against the Lindas of the world), or Mary, or Linda-Mary. I look so very familiar, an exact replica of the Linda-Mary they know, my god, we could be twins. Am I sure I’m not her?
I smile politely and say, no, I’m not Linda-Mary. Well you look just like her, they say, as if it were a great achievement to be a carbon copy of someone else. I walk away thinking….good god, am I that unremarkable? What a marvelous talent I have for being so completely forgettable that I’m constantly mistaken for someone else.
That’s my personal bland!
Though no one will ask how I am coping with the pressures of remaining unknown, of being able to walk down almost any street unrecognized — except for occasionally being mistaken for any of the dozens or hundreds of Linda-Marys in the world — I will admit it does sometimes get to me.
It’s a lot of work avoiding the limelight. The many hours I spend not being asked for autographs, interviews, when my memoir is coming out, my thoughts on important and stupid stuff — are simply draining. I fall into bed exhausted after 16 hours of the world’s non-stop lack of interest in me.
Once someone did almost noticed me. I could see his look of interest from across the room. I could see he was not mistaking me for Linda-Mary, oh no. He had the look of recognition – that I was SOMEBODY, not just ANYBODY. I almost freaked out when he came toward me, a big smile on his face. Panic washed over me. I thought, NOT NOW, my years of obscurity can’t be over.
But the guy walked right past me and folded some other person into his arms and said, “What were YOU doing hiding over there! I’ve been looking all over for you!”
I was so relieved. I pulled my coat around me and headed out the door, to no waiting limousine, to no paparazzi. No one even noticed me leaving.
So, though you didn’t ask, it isn’t easy leaving absolutely no mark on the world. But it’s what I do. And I do it pretty well, if I say so!