Superpowers

I wrote before about one of my superpowers: I work here. No matter where I am, people assume I work there.

At Target people ask me where the blenders are. At the grocery store, people ask me the difference between a sweet and a vidalia onion. Walking down the street, a passerby will ask, “Excuse me, do you know when they will get around to changing the broken light in this street lamp?”

My favorite example is from when the toddler was an infant. On one of my first forays for groceries, he was strapped to my chest in a baby carrier. The woman next to me, contemplating the bulk granola, looks at me and asks, “Where did you move the chocolate raisins to?”

I was wearing. a. baby.

My other big superpower is in need of a nifty phrase like “I work here.” It has to do with spouting out some random, personal detail about a person I just met. And usually it’s some impossible personal detail. Like I’m standing around the dog park and someone starts chatting with me about the rainy weather.

And I go, “Well, at least it’s not a tsunami of pythons.”

And then they go, “My brother was just killed in a tsunami on the coast of Bohol. He was the director of their python sanctuary.”

I’m not kidding. I have this superpower. The example above may be fictitious. But if I hadn’t breastfed all of my memory cells out of my mammaries, I could remember something as equally random. But I like that example, so I’m gonna call this one: Python Power.

Today I’m at the library with the toddler, and a father I’ve chatted with once before greets me. He’s trying to corral his son, who is, “currently obsessed with the elevators,” which are outside the library doors.

He continues, “He picks just one thing, and focuses on it. He won’t let it go.”

Then I respond, “Ya, I don’t know how they diagnose kids with autism, because I think they all show signs, like obsessions with objects.”

He says, “My daughter was diagnosed with autism. His twin sister. She was just diagnosed.”

Why? Of all the random stuff that could fly out of my face did I have to pick that one?

Part of me wants to think my superpower was activated for good. Having a child with a disorder can leave parents feel as if they’re living in a parallel universe. He talked briefly about how her recent therapy gives him signs of hope. He talked about not being convinced the diagnosis was correct. And I’m hoping my “I work here” superpower came through, as if it were natural for me to suddenly be in this part of his life.

But another part of me is afraid my comment was insensitive. Yet one more ignorant comments in a long line of comments this parent will face in his life. Like I understand everyone’s experience with autism because my son is focused on trains. Idiot.

After we chat a bit, our sons toddled in opposite directions. I didn’t get a chance to see them again before they left. Python Power.

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