truly a site unseen

Baby, you can drive my car

This has got to be seriously dangerous, but I bet it looks fabulous:

These are glory days for Invisible Driving. I’ve discovered the core position, The Empty Car. While performing The Empty Car I’m in the driver’s seat with feet on pedals in the normal arrangement but all of me above waist level is bent over, resting on the passenger’s seat. I have the mirrors set so that I can still see perfectly well but to all observers the car is unoccupied. It’s incredibly funny. We’re talking radnopolis funny. Impossible for me to pull this maneuver without cracking up into a squizzling, snerchified hysterical laughter. I laugh with a nervous, giddy delight at the sheer absurdity of it. I laugh with a childish delight at the outrageousness of it. I laugh with an anxious excitement, agitated by the risk. But I laugh most uncontrollably as I imagine the reactions of the passengers in the cars who see this apparition. The ghost car. This is my only regret, that I never get to hear the comments of the people who have this performance foist, and the foist shall be last and the last shall be foist, upon them. How does one react when one confronts the thing which cannot be?

I know how I react, having witnessed (fleetingly) this phenomenon from odd angles, only to discover an ordinary, visible driver once I pull alongside: my jaw drops to a point adjacent to, if not actually on, the seat-belt buckle.

The Topper films and Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man take advantage of this possibility, but for sheer weirdness you have to go to 1941’s The Body Disappears, in which an invisible Jane Wyman in her underwear is driving an open car — and then tosses her brassiere into the back seat because she looks ridiculous.


2 Comments so far

  1. invisibledriving 6 December 2007

    Thanks for excerpting this passage from Invisible Driving, my unprecedented memoir of Manic Depression. It’s available on Amazon, my website – – has 4 sample chapters. These bizarre stunts evolved organically as I soared towards the apex of a Manic episode. I thought of them as a gift – I was sure they looked pretty great – but ironically I never got to see them myself. It was only later that I came to understand the painful irony of this involuntary behavior. Mania is a way to become “invisible,” to flee intolerable circumstance. At the time I thought it was very funny – in a way it was – but the un-funny part was that I was trying erase myself – a world that could not see me could not hurt me. Love your site. Alistair McHarg

  2. CGH 6 December 2007

    I suspect that many people have wanted to disappear for safety’s sake; they presume, not unreasonably, that it’s quite a bit harder to hit a target you can’t see. (I haven’t quite figured out my own motivations, but surely that’s part of the emotional mix.)