How, you may well ask, did I recently find myself swept up in the arms of a Batman impersonator in the heart of Times Square? I assure you, no one could be more surprised than I was. I would not believe it even now but for the fact that there’s photographic evidence.
As another matter of fact, a lot of interesting and amazing things have been happening to me since I started saying “yes” to life more often. Don’t get me wrong. I still say “no” a quite a bit and probably miss out on a lot of fun and opportunity for growth in the process.
I promise you I tried – really, really hard – to say no (and make it stick) to the Batman impersonator’s offer. But, alas, once he’d managed to get my attention, he was so completely and charmingly sincere in his conviction of the great value afforded by his photo op, he had me – to paraphrase “Jerry McGuire” – past “Hell, no.”
For reasons by which I am increasingly astounded as I reflect on them, I simply could not say “no” to this man. He overcame my every objection with such earnestness and enthusiasm, telling me exactly what he was offering and how we could work together to make it happen. He wanted me to be a completely satisfied customer. He would provide the opportunity for me to be captured on camera in any one – and it was completely my choice – of three dramatic action poses. Action poses. Now, there’s an oxymoron for you, if ever there was one. But, as usual, I digress.
He went on to describe the three poses he provides and the visual merits of each pose. There was “The Chase,” “The Rescue” and a third one, the name and description of which escapes my middle aged (yeah, “middle,” like I’m going to live to be a hundred and eight) memory. Following Batman’s pitch, one of my cohorts commented, “Well, I would want the one with the dark background and all the drama.” Uh oh. Clearly, Batman had been successful in exploiting at least one chink in our collective armor as women in the big city. Now, there was one of us to egg on – and even though, at our respective ages, there probably aren’t that many eggs left between us – the next thing I know, he’s overcome every objection, and photos are being taken and I’ve got a choice to make. Not a “yes” or “no” choice. I’m a goner now. It’s just a question of which pose.
Batman is really pushing his best seller, “The Rescue,” in which I will place my left arm around his neck and he will lift me up in his arms, in picture perfect fashion, to capture a beautiful moment in time.
“You cannot be serious,” I say. “I’m a big ol’ girl and you could die.”
“I got this,” says Batman. “Just put your arm right here,” he says, gesturing the action he needs me to take without ever touching me. This guy is good – and admirably respectful in his insistence.
But, I needed reassurance. “Are you really strong enough to hoist me up in the air? Let me feel your arm.” At this point, let me just say that my hand came away convinced that Batman has really been working out to stay at the top of the photo op game. And, mere moments later, I found myself cleanly lifted off my feet and into the arms of the caped crusading human photo prop.
We did make a small contribution for Batman’s efforts and, the more I think about it, the more I think I should have given him at least a hundred bucks. Hell, I should have introduced myself, asked for his name, and learned how he came to express his entrepreneurial spirit as an agent of free enterprise on the streets of New Your City – because he was a phenomenon. He provided me with a stunning demonstration of maintaining unmitigated focus on an objective: A swift, impulse sale resulting in a completely satisfied customer. I wish I had recognized in the moment instead of afterward, the quality I’d responded to in this ersatz Batman, rather than wondering as I was walking away, “What the hell was that? Did I really just let some strange man lift me off my feet, in public, for a photograph?”
As I headed back to the hotel, I began to realize the gift I’d just been given in return for a small sum. What I’d just experienced was something so special that you don’t get to see it just any old time. I’d seen unadulterated wholeheartedness. Because of this Batman’s sincerest efforts, in one swift move, I had been transported from a person who often says “no” to novel experiences to a person who said “yes” to this one. In that instant, I became someone who appreciated the efforts of a street performer who’s perfected the art of wholeheartedness in his work.
So, what did my brush with this fellow’s wholeheartedness cost?
What was the value of being so thoroughly convinced to step light years outside of my comfort zone?
Why? Because it enabled me to say “yes” to something I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams was possible. And, now, because of that, what else might be possible?