Fastest you've ever moved; or: Are you a Superhero?

Normally, I’m a pretty slow person–not athletic, not quick on my feet, etc. But I have a couple of good examples of superhero-quality quickness, and I bet others–parents especially, I imagine–have equally impressive stories.

~This has happened more than once, and my husband is always amazed: I’m standing, say, by the couch, and one of the littlepoets is across the room, doing some goofy littlepoet thing like climbing the bookcase or walking around in Mommy’s shoes. Law of gravity intervenes, and somehow, I manage to be across the room before the little dumpling’s head smacks the floor. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just managed to get my hand between the back of a sweet little skull and the nasty hard concrete. It’s sort of like catching a fly ball, I imagine.

~The best story I have…Wish I had a film of this one: Working in my second-story soap studio, which has lovely windows overlooking the porch roof and the street below. 2 yo littlepoet is in the next room, babbling as usual; I am in the kitchen, thinking to myself, “Wow, the acoustics in here make it sound like he is almost…well, outside! How interest—”. Then, sudden understanding of the mathematical equation involving 2 year olds, old window sashes, flat porch roof, etc, strikes.
Did I mention I was 8 months pregnant? And said window was approximately…well, SMALL?
Littlepoet was, of course, standing outside, on the creaky, un-railed roof of the porch below, waving merrily at the little cars that were driving by, no doubt while their owners called child protection on their cell phones.
You have NEVER, I bet, in all your days, seen a pregnant woman squeeze through an opening that small, in 1 second flat. Or less. And then grab happy child and squeeze back through that opening just as quickly. I was covered with bruises from hip to ankle, and I bet I could never fit through that thing again, even if I wasn’t preggers.

I wonder sometimes if I shouldn’t just velcro them to the nearest wall until they’re grown…

Anyone else got Superhero-fast stories?


The parking lot at my place of employement requires crossing a road 6 lanes wide. At quitting time, heading home is all that is on most folks mind. Looking to save time, many of us cross in the middle of a block. One afternoon, I looked left, clear, looked right, clear, dashed into road. A small green car had turned left onto the road I was crossing and I did not see it. The driver saw me before I saw him and slammed on his brakes. By all rights, he should of hit me but I jumped over most of the hood of his car and kept on going. When I reached the sidewalk on the other side I looked back and the driver was still sitting still looking stunned. What makes this more amazing is that I am about 60 pounds overweight (240 pounds) and I did not think I could jump that high. When I got to my car I had to sit for 15 minutes before I could leave I had the shakes so bad.

Well, I dodged a bullet once. Or maybe it was a hamster.

My greatest superhero stories always involved working in the Theatre. As a back-stage techie, it was always my job to deal with all the catastrophes as they came. For instance, back during The Last Night Of Ballyhoo, an emergency arose where all the backstage speakers and microphones stopped working, which meant that we couldn’t communicate with the guys up in the booth (the control room of the whole show). This was bad, as it meant that I - or the actors - couldn’t hear orders from the stage manager.

So, me, being the dynamic Emergency Boy, sprinted from my post on stage right, all the way around behind the stage, down a long-ass hallway, up two flights of stairs, 'til I finally made it to the booth. Total running time: twenty seconds. Michael Johnson couldn’t do that.

But my real moment of glory came last summer during The Wizard of Oz. I operated the little elevator that allowed the Wicked Witch to sink down through the floor - leaving behind her garments - when she died. Well, immediately after that scene, I had to go crawl underneath a big long section of stage to where the projector, which projected (obviously) the Wizard’s face on his throne.

The problem was that the Witch’s robes had a tendency to dangle down into the elevator shaft… if I brought up the elevator before the clothes were removed, they would get stuck, and the actors would either have to tear them away, or they’d be there for the remainder of the show.

So there I was, waiting 'til the end of the scene to put the elevator back into place. The lights went down for the scene shift, and still the robes were in the hole… I waited, and waited, and waited, each second seeming like an eternity. Finally, I saw the robes whisked away… and I sprang into ACTION!!!

I whirled away at that winch like there was no tomorrow, got it in place level with the stage, and slammed the pegs into the sides to keep it stable. Then I ran ran ran out the door, into the orchestra pit, up the ladder, underneath the ramp, crawled crawled crawled crawled like all the demons of hell were after me, reached the projector, slammed it on, got the tape rolling, and put on my headset just as our stage manager was asking, “Where’s SPOOFE?!?”

Total time: Less than fifteen seconds. I must’ve violated at least one of the laws of physics somewhere in there.

Luckily, the band was playing the whole time, or else the audience would have heard this: “Fu-u-u-u-uck! Shit, shit, shit, SLAM, stomp stomp stomp OW! clang clang clang Fuck bump fuck bump fuck bump fuck bump fuck bump fuck bump fuck bump fuck click, whirrrr… SHIT!”

I, too, was bruised for weeks.

My only superhero power is the ability, as Incredibly Seismophobic Girl, to magically materialize in a doorway at the slightest hint of an earthquake. No matter how messy the room is or how much has fallen in my way, I never trip. I don’t even generally remember my feet hitting the ground.

'Course, the fact that I tend to wake up just before the P-wave hits in middle-of-the-night quakes helps a bit too.

I live on the desert where we have two varieties of rattlesnake, the sidewinder and the Mojave rattlesnake.

I took the dog out early one morning for a run. She liked to chase lizards and I walked along watching while she tore around. I stopped to watch while she lunged into a greasewood bush, then glanced down and right there, within 3" of my left leg was a coiled up sidewinder. I was at the time nearing age 70 and somewhat portly. Instantly, I mean instantly, I found myself about 5 ft. to the right looking back at the snake.

I’ll tell you, that adrenaline is wonderful stuff.

Not sure if this qualifies, but I can catch any insect out of the air, at will. I can sit around and pick flies out of the air all afternoon. No, I don’t live near a landfill.

BTW, bees and wasps are not good “practice”. Just so you know.

I was playing cricket a few years ago in Oxford and fielding at backward square leg (stop snickering in the background there!) The batsman hit a shot that was, oh, about 10 feet to the right of me. I ran at it, but I knew I had absolutely no chance of getting to the ball. I decided, as a lark, just to dive at the ball, to make it look like I was making an effort. I dove at the ground when I was still three or four feet from the line of the shot, and the ball slapped right into my palm. To this day I still don’t know how I got there so fast.

I used to race the cross town bus when running home from school (I was one of the top cross country runners in my nation). I was only moving at about four and a half minute miles, but being able to keep it up for about five miles and to usually beat the bus made me feel pretty darn good.

Later I got pretty good at wild water paddling (professional instuctor) and telemark skiing (national team), which once in a while would lead to perfect days when my body and mind were so in tune with the water or snow that the runs were magic, and which I remember so vividly even today. Sometimes when I go back and look at the terrain I wonder how I actually did what I did, for some of it was technically extreme. Definitely superpower territory.

What’s really amusing, though, is that I have never had what one would consider to be an athletic body. I’m short, stocky, and unless I really work at something, not particularly coordinated. Just a basic joe blob type body. So it never ceases to amaze me that this thing in which I exist actually performs at superpower level if I put in enough effort for a long enough period. I think it’s terrific that we all have superpowers if we wish to develop them! Our bodies are wonderous gifts to us, whatever size, shape and ability they come in.

There’s something really terrific about having a body in tune. Sadly, I’ve gone to pot the last few years due to a career change which has been extremely time consuming. So no more superpowers for me for the next little while until I pull up my socks and start giving my body the attention it deserves, except for my one remaining superpower, which is to comfortably and quickly canoe down wilderness rivers and open water, perfectly at ease in with the world around me. “Hour after hour, day after day, we paddled and sang and slept under the hot sun on the northern ocean, wanting never to return.”

Among my friends, I’m known for my uncanny abibility to catch knocked over glasses and bottles. I can somehow grab a beer bottle just inches from the floor when one of them gets a bit carried away with their hand motions.

It must be the overdeveloped hand-eye coordination from working in an arcade as a youth.

Suddenly being able to run 20 miles an hour doesn’t seem all that spectacular…

Among my friends, I’m not known for my ability to actually spell ability.

I sprinted a couple of hundred yards through thick East Texas undergrowth (including Mesquite trees) without getting a single scratch. This was the same wooded area that I normally had to pick my way carefully through to avoid getting stabbed with various plant’s defensive systems, I was so intent on not getting caught that I just punched a scared-criminal-sized hole through it all.

So I was sitting at my computer one evening, harmlessly listening to music on my stereo, situated roughly behind me and to my right. I have a microsystem that just sat on top of my desk. It hangs ever so slightly over the lip of the desk.

One of my cats loves to sit on top of the changer when it’s running, likely for the heat or the vibration. One day she hopped up onto the desk, but apparently her efforts were insufficient. She had managed to grab the end of the stereo before falling, and thus she brought the whole system down with her.

I saw none of this, as I was sitting with my back to it all. But somehow by a combination of sound and pure precognition I knew what was going on. I swiveled around in my chair and caught my falling stereo right out of the air.

Even my cat was impressed. Clearly I have trained at Wu Dan mountain.

There’s a story told about my aunt. About thirty years ago, she awoke in the middle of the night to find her house on fire. She grabbed the kids, then jumped the chain-link fence in her backyard with a mighty running leap, while holding a small child under each arm. Adrenaline can do funny things to ya, I guess.