Posted by: Kate | September 16, 2008

You Think You Know a Person…

So, after Saturday’s pure, unadulterated awesomeness, it struck me that I have known Carolyn for nine years, and still it was a shock to hear just how incredibly well she can sing.  I knew she once sang in a band, I knew she was a backup singer, even, but I had never heard her perform anything beyond a rousing rendition of “The Alphabet Song” for the kids.  It just never came up.

It was wild, learning something so undeniable and big about someone I thought I knew pretty well.  I don’t mean a deep, dark secret, I just mean something fun or impressive or quirky that makes you go, “…Really?  I had no idea.”

It made me wonder, do I have things like that, about myself?  Occasionally I get a surprised response from someone, mostly people who either know me through work or through knitting (either online or at the bar-group, which I really do need to start attending again), when they find out just how into serial killers and true crime I am.  Encyclopedic knowledge, I tell you.

But I don’t think I carry any secret talents or quirks, at least none that I haven’t already blogged about.  I can sing, but become horribly self-conscious and choked up in front of any sort of audience at all (this despite the fact that I have included “Karaoke in public” on my 100 Things list).  I take decent photographs and am reasonably crafty, whether it be with home-decorating type stuff or kids’ Halloween costumes or just knitting.  I used to be able to memorize phone numbers at an impressive rate, and retain them for years, but my current job requires me to listen to anywhere from a few to dozens of new numbers a day, and combined with the presence of speed dial on my cell phone, I’ve let that talent fade.

Maybe I have lots of odd, surprising little quirks, but I just don’t realize they’re that interesting because they’re just me.  Perhaps Willem, Gretchen, Jenny, Carolyn, somebody out there can point something out.

So how about you?  What are your secret talents?  What will I be surprised (either in a good way, or not so much) to discover about you after we’ve known each other for almost a decade?



  1. I can touch my tongue to my nose. I can sing (no surprise as I think you know I was a theatre arts major in college) but have terrible stage fright. I’m actually extremely shy (no one ever believes this one).

  2. I guess I can sing pretty well. In my head my voice sounds weird, but I like to sing and do it often. But numerous times I’ve had people tell me, “Wow, you have a really nice singing voice!” when they hear me sing a song to the kids or something. And the time I *did* do karaoke (semi-intoxicated on spring break in Jamaica) my friends overheard people in the crowd complimenting me amongst themselves.

    I can push babies out of my vagina without pain medications, which I continue to assert is really easy and no big deal but most people don’t believe me.

  3. I’m with Lisa on the birthing, but it’s not a secret. I can lose my temper in a flash. . . and I can be patient with a difficult child.

    I can make great bread, and keep bees, and sing, enthusiastically and on tune, but not very well. No special talents – oh, I’m easily easily amused and love my friends. I’m a great audience for humor and I love wordplay almost more than any other kind of -play.

  4. Ummm…I can still remember from 5th grade the list of prepositions?

    Aboard about above across after against along amid among….

  5. I am working on a PhD in Engineering despite looking and sounding (and often behaving) like I’m still in high school.

    Despite working on a PhD in Engineering, I like to knit, cook and bake.

    If I could do it all over again, I’d be a crane operator on a construction site.

    I can make up new words for any song that fit the given day better than the real words. This skill is doubled when in the shower (ie. a top 40 song becomes about the pain of being a cat for our Fred cat).

  6. I can sing. I stopped singing in front of people in elementary school, but I can still do it really well. I can count on one hand the number of people who have heard me sing. On the very rare occasion that someone hears me without my immediate knowledge (as I sing to myself all the time when I think I’m alone), I always get that look of “wow, did that voice come out of you?!?” I just really hate to sing in front of people, even my own husband.

    Once upon a time, I had an artistic talent for classical drawing. Not sure I could draw my way out of a box now, but in my younger days, I was good at it. Knitting has taken the place of drawing as my creative outlet.

  7. Nothing remarkable. I think I was a great parent. I use the past tense because mine are now grown and independent despite their propensity to remain at home. I can start a car by smashing the starter motor with the heel of a shoe. I am a simple but innovative cook, I can diffuse an argument and drive a tractor . . nothing very amazing. I’m half Welsh so of course I can sing! I can hold myself together and prevent tears when patronising bosses give me no credit for making their life easier!

  8. Well, funny thing. The thing that people most often have been surprised to learn about me is about the first thing you knew: I do this writing thing. Not the blogging per se, but the process of putting two (or more) sentences together with some degree of competence. It’s my most hidden talent!

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