I’d gotten through the interview, all the tests and somehow, I couldn’t quite believe it, but I was in. I got the job at Supers Inc, where saving the world is a 9 to 5 and boy, does it need some saving.
The first thing I noticed about joining a superheroes team was that everybody else around me reacted like I’d changed in some unfathomable way.
When I handed in my notice at the bank their reactions ranged from shocked looks and a “hey good for you.” To confusion from friends, who thought I’d quietly gone mad. “Why would you do that…couldn’t you get a real job?”
It wasn’t just how people reacted when I told them though. Overnight, it was like I had become a completely different person and the way they acted around me changed. It was something I couldn’t put my finger on till a few months later.
At the birthday party, where I turned 30 and we held a birthday barbecue on the roof of our apartment building.
I remember first, my sister coming to hug me and hand me my birthday card shyly. She pressed it quickly into my hands and mumbled “I hope this is still o.k.”
I was intrigued. It wasn’t like her and when I opened the card, her apparent unease seemed to make even less sense. The card had some silly joke on it, something about never having enough shoes. An old joke between us, but she looked positively relieved as I hugged and thanked her.
I couldn’t understand her nervousness. But I began to recognize an oddly familiar pattern throughout the day. Family and friends all curious of what my latest job change would mean, all probing in their own way.
An awkward pause in a conversation or faces that glanced my way nervously. Uncle Tom’s buying a new car and he’s considering a 4×4. John and Cheryl are heading for a trip back to Israel once they get back from Spain and they’re thinking the US for Christmas… a pause, an uncomfortable cough or just that same look in their eyes. Fear.
After a while, the card, all those strange moments, it began to finally dawn on me. They were afraid and expected me to judge them, to perhaps challenge their choices or I don’t know, go mad and start ranting and hitting them over the heads with one of the sandals from my wide-selection of not so tree-hugging shoes.
I was now in the business of saving the world, which in their eyes meant I might have stopped relating to their love of holidays, buying the latest gadget, shoes or digging into the delicious BBQ chicken, pork and lamb, we cooked that day.
This honestly hadn’t really occurred to me when I applied for the job.
I wanted to stop the possible world-ending impending multiple disasters, but I didn’t think that would mean I stopped being me?
Maybe I was supposed to transform into somebody else when I took this job. The way those that I loved had seemed to assume would happen. But I couldn’t imagine that if it also meant isolating myself from those who sang happy birthday to me on that rooftop. From the people who I’d spent the day with making fruit smoothies, eating our misshapen sushi and slightly burnt chicken wings.