You can learn some interesting things about a person from their ideal superpower. People who want to be invisible, for example, generally prefer not to be in the limelight. Maybe they’d rather highlight other people, or maybe they have social anxiety (or maybe it’s something else altogether).
I was painfully shy as a kid. I was scared to have an opinion because of how that opinion might make others think or feel. My third grade teacher gave me the role of the White Rabbit for our in-class production of Alice in Wonderland because he had the most lines and I was the best in the class at reading aloud. But in our first practice, I couldn’t hop across the room and say my lines. I froze. My face got hot and I felt buzzy-prickly-sick. In the end, Mrs. Richards let me walk instead of hop. I whispered my lines then fled to my desk and tried not to cry. After that, another kid played the White Rabbit and I pulled double duty as Narrator and Cheshire Cat. No hopping required.
Not the most auspicious start to my acting career, though it’s almost funny that I still struggle with physicality.
But when it came to choosing my preferred superpower, invisibility always lost out to flying. I craved the untethered freedom and possibilities. Without a destination in mind, the point was the journey. Getting away.
Now? These days, teleportation tops my list. Not because the journey is any less important or fascinating to me, but because time feels so much more finite now than when I was younger and I have friends scattered around the globe.
Some friends I haven’t seen in years. They live in Seattle and LA, Ecuador and Japan. I recently hosted a friend from St. Louis for two weeks and as nice as it is to have my space back, the time is never enough. Another friend just had her birthday on the west coast. I haven’t seen her in six years, and for all I know it might be another six – or even ten or twenty – years before I see her again.
And the journey is often the most expensive part of getting anywhere significantly distant. Have you noticed that?
Teleportation would be my practical superpower. Bring my far-flung chosen family closer together and feed the wanderlust without going broke or wasting hours and days of my life in all-too-familiar airports and planes.
Except for Dulles. I love the architecture of Dulles and it always puts me in mind of a certain story that needs to get on the page. I love Dulles . . . as long as I don’t need to catch a connecting flight.