I was traveling recently and picked up a copy of Vanity Fair in one of the airport shops. As I rifled through it, the results of a short poll caught my attention.
As it did, a nice-looking man asked me if I would watch his luggage while he grabbed some breakfast. “Of course,” I replied, batting my eyelashes. Then I turned my attention back to the magazine.
Results of the poll indicated that reading another person’s mind is the power most Americans would choose over any other. Over flying or becoming invisible; over possessing super-strength or having X-ray vision. (See the top 20 super powers of all time.)
I would rather fly
“Why would you want to know what people were thinking about you?” I wondered. I would rather fly.
The man returned, finishing his breakfast sandwich, and asked me where I was going. “San Diego,” I answered. (“Duh, it’s a direct flight,” I thought, glad that he couldn’t read my mind.)
“That’s where I live,” he said and began telling me about some pretty good shopping and sight-seeing places. We talked until we began to board the plane.
Since I don’t have the super power of reading minds, I might have thought, “This guy is flirting with me and wants to start a conversation by asking me to watch his luggage.”
That I was 25 years older (give or take) did not fit into my fantasy.
But if I could read minds, I would know what he was really thinking: “Look, here’s a safe-looking, older married woman (indicated by wedding ring). She won’t think I’m flirting with her if I ask her to watch my luggage.”
No, we are better off in the dark.
Forgiveness comes easier if we don’t know the motives behind someone’s actions. Hospitality, too, is less complicated. As is love.
The only mind-reader I know is God, who loves us despite really knowing us. Love like that is a power I would like to own. And flying.
What super power would you like to have?
Terri Lackey is director for communications for Women of the ELCA. This blog first ran in March 2010.
Photo by Adrianna Calvo from Pexels