At work one snowy, blowy night in March, just before a trip into town, a resident with a history of mostly good-natured male chauvinism, made a casual comment to another staff, meant to subtly imply a lack of faith in my (feminine) driving skills.
I gave him my patented raised-eyebrow, cocked-head look, inviting him to go on.
"Aw, man," he said, sputtering a bit. "I am so glad we're not related or married or anything..."
Another raised eyebrow, now with my arms crossed over my chest.
"...because you always know exactly what I'm thinking."
It was a terrible thing to say to me because I already half-believe I can half-read minds. It's neither necessary nor wise to encourage me in this belief.
Though people around me are sometimes impressed (or distressed, depending on the circumstances) by my ability to guess thoughts and anticipate actions, this ability is not some paranormal parlor trick. After nearly twenty-five years of parenting four children, not to mention twenty-six years of marriage, and, oh let's say 44 1/2 years of general people-studying, it's only natural that I would've developed some people-reading abilities. My talents are at least partially explained as the product of my inborn curiosity (some would call it nosiness) about the world in general and human nature in particular. And some credit can go to my memory for details (some would say trivia).
The real secret, though, is that most minds aren't all that difficult to read. We are all of us more predictable than we would like to believe. It's true that the building blocks of human nature can be assembled in infinite combinations, influenced by environment and personal preference and a million other variables. But the building blocks themselves seem to come in surprisingly limited varieties--our basic wants and needs, requirements and desires are more similar than our surface differences would suggest. We are most of us more alike than different. Mind reading is not a magic trick, it's just a matter of paying a little more attention.
M is for Mind Reading
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