Both feet not in the grave

Dear Auntie, Having reached 50, I've become invisible. It's the only explanation of why people look right through me. I'm ignored in shops and at bus stops; and getting served at the bar is an endurance test, as men and younger women always take priority. I have a lifetime of experience as an activist, but these days there's always a 'Darren' or 'Ryan' whose opinion matters more. I'd go as far as saying they don't even hear me speak! It seems white hair and wrinkles are taken as an early indication of Alzheimer's. But I'm not ready to go gently into the night and as Auntie looks of a similar age, does she have any advice? The invisible woman, London

September 18, 2008 · 2 min read

Dear invisible woman,

Sorry, I didn’t see you standing there.

Auntie isn’t actually as old as she looks: she just takes a bad picture. However, she intends to age disgracefully and recommends you do the same.

Many of Auntie’s older sisters complain about these ‘invisible moments’ but Auntie thinks there are advantages. After all, if no one can see you then you can say and do whatever you want. It’s time to have some fun while you fight ageism. Start by serving yourself when they don’t see you in shops and pubs – although for some reason the invisibility spell seems to wear off when you start reaching over the counter.

Subvert all expectations: sneak through security, pop up in front of the queue – no one’s going to tell their grandma to get back in line, and as you’re invisible, just ignore them if they do. Return those Saga circulars and read Red Pepper instead. And don’t forget that as the baby boomer marketeers approach retirement you can guarantee that ageing will suddenly become cool.

Finally, always remember you have the advantage – you’ve been young but the young have never been old.

Email your questions to: Subcomandauntie@gmail.com


The crack pipe of peace

Dear Auntie _ War, famine, economic depression and global warming - the idea that 'another world is possible' seems remoter than ever. Will we ever have a just and peaceful world? _ Desperate for peace, Preston

Learning by number

Dear Auntie _ At one of the Gaza protests in London, Stop the War put the number of protesters at around 100,000 but the police insisted it was only 20,000. Can Auntie reassure me that the Met has a scientific methodology for estimating crowd numbers? _ Numberless in London

No hope

Dear Auntie, All my left-wing friends seem to be overjoyed about Obama winning the US election, holding real hope that he will bring change, that he'll stop the wars, and that he'll somehow make America all cuddly and nice. But haven't we been here before? I'm getting flashbacks to the expectations people had of politicians like Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, and how quickly they betrayed us. Is it terrible that I think Obama will be just more of the same? Hopeless, London


Do what I say, not what I inhale

Dear Auntie, _ My daughter is starting to ask awkward questions such as 'Mum, did you take drugs when you were young?' I don't want to lie but I don't want her to venture down the same route. What do I tell her? _ Amy in London

Nice smelling poo

Dear Auntie, _ I'm a vegetarian who is fed up having to justify why I don't eat anything with a face on it. And it's the environmentalists who are also meat eaters who seem the most personally affronted by my choices. Do you have any suggestions how I can deal with this? _ Chickpea not chicken lover, Totnes

Money matters

Dear Auntie, I just learnt that my father, whom I haven't seen in years, plans to leave me a very large pile of dosh in his will. As this is the ill-gotten gains of his work as a Ministry of Defence fat-cat contractor, I know it was made at the expense of others' suffering. Does Auntie think I should keep or give it away? Almost filthy rich, London