Mission: Be Elusive

9 Jan

Zorro

The black turtleneck and black leggings hang limply in the back of my closet. To a pair of common eyes, they might look like just that: old black clothes on a wire hanger.

I retrieve them gingerly and admire them with a reverence usually reserved for a superhero’s costume. I don the catsuit – my catsuit – for the first time in a couple of months. But there’s another step this time. I’m headed out on a mission and this one requires full IWOM regalia. The wig comes off the shelf.

After a series of semi-complicated maneuvers, I secure my new blonde locks on my head. Strap on my tall, black boots. Throw on additional layers of black clothing (it’s a cold day in the city). I grab my sunglasses and my trench.

My mission? To be elusive. I check before leaving my apartment and again before leaving the building. Just to ensure that the coast is clear. My neighbors mustn’t know about my secret identity. Today, I’m hitting the streets, incognito.

It’s a twofold mission, actually. While I’m determined to stalk the city undetected, Jenny G. has decided to leave her mark around Denver. Some time ago, I ordered for myself a box (or four) of calling cards. Simple business cards bearing my adopted alias and this blog address, so that I can begin to establish myself as a real International Woman of Mystery.

Today the emphasis is on the mystery. I’m already quite anonymous, given my very brief residency. Do I really need additional disguise? Perhaps not. But for now, the idea is to remain completely inconspicuous. People in this neighborhood have seen Jennifer around, but Jenny G. is another story. My true identity shall remain a secret.

I’ve got a tentative itinerary, but I’m open to seeing where the day takes me. My mission is to leave my calling card in as many places as possible without arousing suspicion. To traverse across downtown without attracting attention. Never lingering too long in one place but leaving  just a trace of my existence, wherever I go.

It’s a simple mission but a good place, I wager, to start practicing my stealth skills. My ability to stay under the radar. Today a few cards. Tomorrow international espionage.

I’ll start at the Cheeseman Park Pavilion. It strikes me an ideal spot to begin my journey. From atop the hill it overlooks the city and the Rocky Mountains. It’s a quiet morning. I trudge across the leftover snow and ice, toward my mark. Breathing in the crisp air, I envision myself walking purposefully between the columns, leaving a trail of cards scattered behind me for all to find. My plan is thwarted, however, when I spy a happy couple posing for engagement photos on the pavilion. A photographer and her assistant flank them as they pose incessantly. The International Woman of Mystery is annoyed. I don’t stand a chance of sneaking across unseen.

I wait for a bit on a park bench, trying to look nonchalant. Unfortunately, there is nothing nonchalant about hanging out in a wig and dark sunglasses on a park bench when it’s 11 degrees. There appears to be no end to their photo session. I’m disappointed but I’ve got to keep moving. I leave a single card next to a pillar and skulk off.

I pass through a series of coffee shops. I leave my card on bistro tables and in bathroom stalls. Book store. Record store. Yoga studio. On bus stop benches and in newspaper vending machines. A card casually dropped on the floor via revolving door, into an elegant hotel lobby. On bulletin boards. On a mall shuttle passenger seat. Civic Center Station. The steps of the State Capitol building. The idea is to be subtle. No littering or spamming. Just one strategically placed card, here and there.

I make my way down the 16th Street Mall, quickly dodging tourists and hoping no one is staring at me in my wig. I do my best to act natural. Look natural. Keep a practiced cool about me. I survey the masses from behind my big sunglasses. For the most part, it seems to be working. A homeless man says, hey beautiful, you just keep walking by all you want. Otherwise, I go unnoticed. I’m just another stranger blending into the crowd.

At the Performing Arts Complex, a security guard spies me leaving a card by the box office window. I bend down and pretend to fix the zipper on my boot, then hurry off into an parking garage elevator. Footsteps echoing behind me on the deserted plaza. That was a close one.

My nerves are rattled by such a narrow escape, but I’m quite close to my final destination. I’ve got to keep going. I pop into my favorite spot – aka External Headquarters – for a quick coffee. Check my wig in the bathroom mirror and warm up a bit. I leave a calling card on the old player piano there and I’m en route once more. Last stop: Union Station.

The resplendent Union Station terminal lies at the edge of downtown Denver, where for 100 years, it has served as a transportation hub for buses, Amtrak and light rail. Once a beacon for travelers, its inviting lobby now serves as a trendy mixed-use hotspot. On any given day it hosts throngs of anonymous citizens such as myself, grabbing coffee or drinks. Tapping away on laptops or snapping photos of its magnificent light fixtures. It seemed the perfect place for an International Woman of Mystery to arrive on the scene.

Once inside, I try not to get too intimidated by the crowds. Dropping a few cards will be especially challenging with so many people around, but it’s now or never. I’ve been waiting for my moment and I’m not about to let it pass me by. I shift from one seating area to another, leaving my card on lounge chairs and work desks. Sit a spell. Then move on. Walk a lap around the lobby, watching and waiting in the shadows. Secretly hoping someone will notice my calling card and pick it up. I want the cards to get noticed as much as I want not to be noticed wandering around.

I wait around a bit longer, but my wig is starting to itch and I realize I haven’t eaten yet today. Though I’ve had more coffee than can be humanly healthy, on this pilgrimage. It’s just after 4:00 and soon it will be dark out. Colder too. I decide it’s time to head back to the Mystery Pad.

Upon exiting, I pause at the 105th Meridian, which spans across the globe and goes smack dab through the middle of Union Station’s great hall. I straddle it and think about how it runs all the way from the North Pole to here. Then through icy tundras, canyons and marshes clear down to the southern pole of Antarctica. I think about all the adventure that must lie out there, in the expanse of land it crosses.

According to numerology, the number 105 is symbolic of forward progress. It represents change brought about by positive manifestations, big ideas and self-reliance. I bend down to fix the zipper on my boot one more time and leave my last calling card on the meridian line and then follow it south, toward home. Mission accomplished.

Ciao,
Jenny G.

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One Response to “Mission: Be Elusive”

  1. totallycaroline 01/10/2016 at 7:03 AM #

    Hmmm… An incognito mission huh? Note to self: must buy suitably fashionable catsuit asap!

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