conversation for its own sake.


A recurring discussion in a couple of my social groups is the idea that everyone has at least one superpower, something we are very good at and can do consistently. Of course it's typically pretty trivial: if we had really meaningful superpowers we'd be ruling the world, or at least find a way to make ourselves very rich. No, these are everyday superpowers, manifest merely in the course of our lives and presenting themselves as "quirks" to everyone else. I have, I think, two.

The first: I can, with something like 99% accuracy, identify a song as being contemporary Christian music, without hearing any of the lyrics. I'm not sure how I do this; in part, because I listen to pop radio, anything unfamiliar stands a good chance of being unfamiliar for being on the Christian radio circuit. But there's something about the music, often a kind of treacly uplifting quality expressed deeply in the arrangement of the music itself, sort of how the band Coldplay usually manages to make the instrumentation as whiny or mopey as the vocals and lyrics. I meet people like that, sometimes. I refer to them as "bright", because I see them as just light, seemingly without darkness or shadow in them. (Needless to say I'm not one of them and we often have difficulty carrying on conversations.)

The second, which used to bug me a lot and now I seem to be pretty okay with: making nice connections with (apparently) unavailable women. Really. A disproportionate number of attractive-but-already-committed women seem to find me quite charming, and I seem to like them, and we get on very well. I imagine there's an element of safety involved in this, most of the time: they won't cross the boundaries of their relationship and figure out that I won't either, or that I'd be easily stopped if I tried.

And not for the first time I think that my life might be more fun if I weren't quite so moral...

I think this superpower, while it sounds tragic, is now something I'm genuinely okay with. It used to bother me a lot, that the connections I made with women were limited in how far they could go. But I've learned a lot in the past few years, namely:

  1. Especially in Northern California, relationships are not necessarily limited, if you don't assume they are.
  2. It's much more important for me to be able to talk and listen and connect to people, especially women, than that those conversations produce something somehow. If I stay open and fluid, everything comes naturally and at the right time.

Your moment of Zen for the day.