I'm sitting at a table in the center. My glass is empty but I'm invisible.
All around me friends talk animatedly, the individual subject's blurred by the inebriation of the participants and the general hubbub. The area is popular with nationals of many countries, but this evening Atlantic English predominates.
The American couple to my left suddenly lean over and ask his name. I don't hear at first as I have my earphones in, am busy with the phone, absorbed in my own life.
"sorry? " I ask.
"his name? " they repeat expectantly.
Vance is the focus as ever, and I'm invisible.
They pet him and make those silly clicking noises that people who think they like dogs but don't really know make. Vance doesn't care, they return to their conversation, and I remain invisible.
I've been sitting here for half an hour with an empty glass, staring into, space, hoping that a barman will clear my glass away, giving me the opportunity to request a top up. I could go to the bar, it is only to my left, but I would surely lose the table whilst risking the fuss and embarrassment created when disturbing the dog and fumbling my way across a crowded floor. So I remain drinkless, moving my glass to a place where I think it might be visible, but sufficiently hard to reach that I'll have time to make my request. But they're too busy and I'm invisible.
The American man is back. His voice reaches me from below. Either he's the height of a three year old or he's kneeling on the floor touching the dog.
I don't understand him at first, and remove my earphone.
"you don't see, right? "
"not very well " I reply, "I see a bit, but... "m
He's sorry about that. I don't know why, as I don't recall him being the cause. I mean, why are people sorry for things that they didn't do, which they frankly know nothing about? I'm not especially sorry for myself so I don't know why he should be.
He asks my name, and I ask what brings him here. He's from Amsterdam, studying marketing in London, but doesn't have time to talk and leaves. And I return to being invisible.