Thursday, October 28, 2010


If I could have any superpower in the world, I would choose the power of invisibility. Not so I could sneak into private areas and listen in on personal conversations, or engage in illicit activities like stealing and subsequently destroying every single leaf blower in the world. No, I would be invisible so I would only have to make awkward conversation with people on my terms, when I want them to see my presence. If I was invisible, I wouldn't have to struggle with whether to make eye contact and smile at the person traipsing along the opposite side of the hallway. I wouldn't have to shake the hand of a new acquaintance and search the empty depths of my mind for topics of conversation. I could just be alone, unobserved. I could just be.

I have always been a shy person. As a toddler, when adults leaned down and asked me questions, I shut my eyes tightly until they went away. Apparently, I thought that if I couldn't see them, they weren't really there. It would probably still be a pretty effective tactic, but it might not go over so well during editorial board meetings or performance evaluations.

In general, I don't like to talk. I would prefer to write my thoughts down on paper with time and contemplation on my side, rather than come up with a response to a verbal question off the cuff, stuttering over my words and frantically pleading with the floor to reveal the phrase I would like to convey. I have always felt that there are a limited amount of words one can use in a lifetime. A ration, like a sack of beans periodically given out to refugees. I would much rather conserve mine while, for example, I am quite sure that my mother has used approximately three lifetimes worth of beans. So to speak (ha).

I don't want to appear unfriendly, because I don't believe I am an inherently unfriendly person, but I am aware that that is how I often appear. I have to take some time, oh, perhaps a year or three, before I feel truly comfortable talking for hours on end with another person, sharing anything beyond the basic "the weather's gotten quite cold lately, hasn't it?" Even then, even with those closest to me, I usually speed up the endings of my stories to cut them short, because it always appears to me that the person has lost interest about halfway through.

So I would be invisible. Able to turn the power off and on at will, encased in a protective barrier when necessary, and receiving conversational ventures from other people when I am able to reciprocate. If anyone knows how I can achieve this within the next few days, it would be most appreciated. I am leaving on Sunday to spend an entire week with strangers in a strange city.


blind irish pirate said...

I used to like this superpower for the exact same reasons. My only issue that I discovered was that I WOULD use it manipulatively, even though I said I wouldn't. And then if I listened into conversations that I wouldn't normally hear, I'd probably end up hearing something that would inevitably hurt worse than had I just stayed out of it.

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