Monday, October 02, 2006

What's your superpower?

One of the reasons I love walking Iris to and from school is the conversation. One day, she said we can pretend to be a family of superheroes. She asked me, "What would your superpower be?" Then she answered it herself. "Oh, you would be super-fast so you can do everything you need to do."

I asked what if I didn't like to be rushed? I like to enjoy the moment.

"Then your superpower would be that you can divide yourself up and be in many places at once. You can go to work as much as you like and still be with me all the time."

She further mused that, "Of course, we can all fly. And daddy would be superstrong."

"What about his memory?" I asked.

Oh, it would be excellent. He would be able to remember everything.

When I read Superhero Worship by Virginia Postrel in October's Atlantic Monthly, I wondered if Iris and myself were thinking too small. We were thinking of all my different but real personas-but not about imaginary, more glamorous lives. Was this a failure of imagination on our part? Or perhaps a sign that I have a dream life, albeit with a bit less time and sleep than optimal?

It's been a while since I read Phillip Roth's The Counterlife. However, I found the central premise extremely compelling. What if we had more than one life? What would we do with it?

Addendum: more about my counterlifes here.

Postscript:
International Walk to School Day is Wednesday, 4 October 2006. Walking to school provides an enjoyable and healthful way to start or end the school day. It will also help alleviate the unsafe traffic and parking congestion that plague schools around the country. Please consider joining other families in forming Walking School Buses.

What is a Walking School Bus? It can be as informal as parents walking their own children to school or it can be as elaborate as New Zealand's "Virtual School Buses" with "drivers", "conductors" and a rope between the two. Why not team up with other families in your neighborhood? When families team up, the amount of time required for each individual parent decreases.

Links:
International Walk to School Day (in the USA)
Walking School Bus
Active and Safe Route to School

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