(a weekly feature, at least until I start forgetting to post it or lose interest)
What makes a superhero so super? And heroic? Superpowers, that's what. Abilities that far outstrip the capacity of mere mortals. For the big names, this is stuff like flying, bulletproofness, lightning speed. But where does that leave the rest of us?
I was talking to my friend Larry the other night and he was explaining how he had two notable abilities.
1. He watches a TV show. Commercial break comes on. He changes the channel to watch something else. THEN! He switches back to the original show RIGHT EXACTLY when the program resumes! He doesn't miss a thing!
2. This one's a little less useful, relying as it does on out of date technology. Driving in a car, listening to music on cassette, song comes on he doesn't like so much, Larry hits fast forward and is able to stop the tape and hit Play RIGHT EXACTLY as the next song begins.
These superpowers won't earn Larry his own comic book or action figure but they are small examples of how a person can skillfully gain an advantage over the petty challenges the day presents. I guess they're less "super" powers than they are "convenient" powers.
Convenientpowers! The mundane real world version of superpowers!
The Question is this: What is your greatest convenientpower?
Together we will form a sort of superfriends! Well, convenientfriends anyway.
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Hm, mine probably has something to do with reflexes, as in, I'm pretty good at catching things I've dropped or fumbled before they hit the ground - snatch them right out of mid-air I can!
I'm also pretty good at catching grapes and popcorn in my mouth, which seems like a related ability.
I have an inconvenient power, which probably won't get me invited to the clubhouse:
When I'm walking at night, street lights turn off or on. Usually off. I'm sure they're street lights on the verge, but they turn off as I approach far more often than seems to be attributable to random chance.
There's a theory that people with multiple personalities can interfere with electronics (watches, clock radios, that kind of thing), so I used to explain this by saying that I have hundreds of personalities...but they're all very, very similar. Now I'm leaning toward after-effects of astral projection. Anybody have a better theory?
Well I am somewhat well-known for what we call the Ely Parking Luck. In most cases, when I arrive at a destination, a parking space right out front (or darn near close) will magically be vacant.
Also notable is that this superpower was inherited from my father, a la Superman.
I also have the power of good parking. Within the family, I am referred to as "Lucky Parking Girl", so I even already have my convienentpower name.
I also have the inconvienent power of having whatever I am thinking plastered across my face so that everyone knows it without my even opening my mouth. This is not as useful when I am in the position of needing to act impartial, or subtle in any way.
I. Suck. At. Poker.
Mine is being able tell when my children are lying.
Me: Did you wash your hands?
Me: Let me smell them (for those without kids--it's to smell for traces of soap)
Me: Did you do your homework?
Me: Do you want me to look at your grades online?
A sub-convenientpower is asking my husband whether he needs help making dinner at the moment he is finished and won't need any.
My family retaliates with their own convenientpowers of needing exactly the amount of toilet paper left so that they don't ever have to put on a new roll.
I, too, have special parking powers. But for them to work, I have to say out loud on the way to wherever I'm going, "I'm going to get a really great spot right in front!" And then I do: 100% of the time. If I don't call it, my percentage goes down a little. If I'm going somewhere notoriously tricky parking-wise, I always call it and prevail.
This is also an inherited trait. I get it from my mother, who always got great parking spaces using "Finnish white magic".
My other convenient power is that when I see I have a certain number of emails in my inbox, I know before looking at them how many will be fun personal ones and how many will be boring impersonal ones like Yahoo: Keyword News (Barack Obama)*. I can see a (1) new message and get properly excited or see a (3) new messages and know to be all whatever about it because it'll be lame.
P.S. to Kyano: For a good substitute poker face, keep your face moving constantly with no rhyme or reason. Lift your eyebrows and stick your tongue out and scrunch your face up and blink really fast and make kissy faces and grin and frown and open wide, etc.
*No offense, my candidate. It's cool to hear news about you. But it'd be cooler if you wrote the emails yourself, and just to me, because we're close like that. You'd be all, Oh, Tina, oh my god. I have to tell you about when I went bowling. My score was totally as bad as yours. Arrgh. But, good news! My poll numbers are going up in Pennsylvania. Give Finn a squeeze for me. I heard Dave got another poem published - awesome! Love, Barack.
This is a good one, Mr. Moe!
Um. I think it is knowing the sound of a purposeful step outside my door. Like I can always tell when the step is headed to our place, which is very convenient if you're the type of person who likes to wait until the instant before someone is about to knock or put their key in the lock, then whip the door open and yell "HAH!"
Not that I'm that type of person. At least, not since I hit myself in the head with the little nubbin security thingy that sticks out on our door.
Man, I don't think I can join the club, 'cause my main power is the inability to remember key details of stories (a power I clearly did not inherit from my mother who is the queen of the detailed tale). I'm good with lyrics, though, so if there's an opening in the Convenientfriends for a lyric-spouting fat guy give me a call.
It looks like we can start a whole planet of those who have the convenientpower of parking. I can do what my friend Margot calls Kojaking. I can drive up to any building in Seattle and park right in front of it while others continue to circle the block for hours.
I also have the convenientpower of knowing when my phone is going to ring. More often than not I will pick up my phone to look at it and then it will ring. If I don't want to be called, I just don't pick it up. Voila!
OK. So mine is, I know when someone is going to flake on me. Like, with my storytelling project, when I am trying to book an interview, when someone says they're planning to visit, etc. It's after my last interaction w/ them before they finally say "uh, sorry, it's not gonna happen"...I already knew it wasn't gonna happen! HA!
You can tell by the way someone says "yes" to something - the not-making-eye-contact, the tone of their voice over the phone, the agreeing but stalling on deciding the necessary details via email.
My balancing inconvenient power is, I always doubt that feeling I get before people flake. Then I get mad at them for flaking. And THEN I get mad at myself for getting mad at them. "You knew it!" I mumble. "Why did you believe that person instead of yourself? When will you learn?" Apparently the answer to that final question is, never! I will never learn.
So what happens if Jennifer, Tina, Kyano and I all show up at the same place, in separate cars? Will we all find a spot, or will the universe collapse in upon itself?
Maybe we're all alter-egos of the SAME ConvenientHero. That's why you never see us in the same place at the same time.
Finding great - not good, but great - places to eat when visiting towns and cities with which I am unfamiliar. I just need to look at them. I could analyze it but what's the fun in that?
It's a sixth sense. Although sometimes in places like Lewiston, ID it's the Red Robin.
Oops GTG EXS is eating dirt. Not great.
I can parallel park just about any vehicle. Could Spiderman do that?
amazing reflexes!!! (ahem-ahem, result of a little game called "baseball" i think) not to brag, but - for example - I was in a department store a few weeks ago and a woman knocked a porcelain giraffe off a display, I caught it casually but instantly as I walked by- everyone was shocked -it was awesome, like: amazing that the hands have the ability to work far faster than conscious thought. little game called baseball... the Europeans generally grew up placing soccer, so I don't notice that they have this hand-eye ability so much...
My husband and I have long talked about our superpowers, but here they are downgraded to mere convenientpowers. And one of his turns out not to be that remarkable: parking.
His remaining convenientpower is not getting jetlag. He used to have the power of not catching cold, but that one seems to have gone away.
His inconvenientpower is always picking the wrong line. I guess the time he saves in looking for parking is lost in line.
My convenientpower is being able to converse with people with hard-to-understand Asian accents. Sometimes that is very convenient.
I'm so glad you brought this up! I've never been able to share this! But I always pick exactly the right number of hangers from the closet when I'm hanging up my laundry. Always, without fail. I'm like a hanger-savant.
Thanks for asking!
I have that electronic interference that meganc mentioned. Watches stop after I wear them a few days. In the late 80's and early 90's my computers would go haywire after awhile. I don't have that problem anymore. A computer engineer could probably explain why.
The upside - or convenientpower - is that I can remagnetize credit and debit cards that will not scan for anyone else. By rubbing them on my arm.
I have the magical ability to perceive which song will drive a person crazy. I can then hum a few bars of that song and that person will be tormented by "Can't touch this" for the next several weeks.
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