I don’t mean to boast, but I was walking along the other day, sizing things up, when I realised that, despite my personal limitations, I am naturally quite gifted in two key areas.
I am uncannily gifted in the field of hot drink remembering. I can remember - and I swear this would happen if I were in a hostage situation or splitting the atom or emceeing a royal wedding - almost exactly how much I had left of a hot cup of tea or coffee somewhere in the house. Can NOT for the life of me remember where the cup is, but I guarantee it’s somewhere and it has about two sips left in it. Now, for some people this would not be an achievement at all, but one must work within one’s limits. I am always multitasking and therefore I am forever putting cups of tea and coffee down in the middle of things only to look up like a meerkat about thirty seconds before they’re about to go cold, searching them out across the house. I’m yet to be wrong. I always get to them just in time. People doubt my abilities, of course they do, and question their import, but people will always doubt the work of the truly gifted.
My second gift is the gift of finding, without trying, every time, the exact point in any book I am part of the way through reading. I can pick up a different copy - nay a different edition - of the book in a bookshop, open it, and I am guaranteed to read the very next word that leads on from where I left off. Doesn’t matter if I last read the book two years ago or twenty minutes ago. It happens every time. Even I doubt this gift. Even I scroll back a few pages to see if I really have hit the sweet spot. But I’m gifted. It’s not something I can control. The universe has decided to bestow this upon me, and who am to question it?
I mention these gifts because sometimes things like this don’t get celebrated enough. People are celebrated for being gifted surgeons, or gifted at parenting, or gifted musicians or performers. The small gifts, though, we never hear enough about.
Let’s celebrate the small, confusing gifts showered on us from the universe. This is a Public Service Announcement.
Celebrate the person in the family who always gets the car park out the front of the venue.
Or like how some people have a built-in sense of direction and can find their way home in a foreign city by just feeling the vibe.
Or the body’s ability to wake up five minutes before the alarm goes off. Moments like that, you feel like the universe has been talking about you behind your back.
People who can tell the ending. “This one is that other dude’s brother and the one from the start with the accent is the secretary who killed the cousin (who is actually the sister)”. “But we’re only three minutes into the movie!” “Yup. See you after. I’ll go and do the dishes”.
People who can pack three cars worth of stuff into one small sedan so that if you packed one extra grain of sand the boot wouldn’t close.
The way you can find someone you know in a crowd without trying too hard, like some executive function in charge of finding loved ones completely takes over.
The earring finders. Someone drop a tiny screw from the arm of their glasses or the back part of an earring in an enormous park at night? Get an earring finder on the case and your problems will melt away.
Maybe you’re a knot detangler. Those people are crazy patient and dextrous as. There is usually only one knot detangler per generation. Treasure them.
And last of all… People who cats like. You know who you are. Many of you? Violently allergic to cats. Can’t stand them. Wish they would leave you alone. Thing is, the rest of us have to win them over for years. You just stand there while the cat’s family watches, incredulous, as their aloof pet throws itself at your feet, puffed up and purring like you’re cat royalty. How do you people do it? Gifted.
You’ve got small gifts. You know you do. So do the people you love. Do a gift stocktake. Enjoy them. You really don’t have a choice. This has been a Public Service Announcement.
This originally appeared in The Big Issue. Please support your local vendor.