Fear and loathing

Conversation with Mom this week, while taking her to the cardiologist.

Mom:  You’re looking thinner.  Are you eating?

daisyfae:  Yep.  Good stuff.  i’ve just been hitting the workouts harder.  Took the bike out for an hour last night after work and pounded it pretty hard…

Mom:  Do you ride alone?

daisyfae [knowing where she’s going with this]:  Sometimes.  But it’s safe – tons of people out, i carry my phone, populated areas near the trail.  Besides, i ride with a .44 Magnum in my bike shorts…

Mom:  What?

daisyfae:  Just kidding.  That’s S*…

Mom:  Well, you know there was a woman attacked down here a few weeks ago.  She was out jogging, and just nodded to a man running the other way.  He turned around and followed her, hit her in the head with a stick, dragged her off in the woods and raped her…

daisyfae:  i’m careful, Mom.  i maintain good situational awareness, have common sense and besides… i ride pretty fast these days!

Mom:  Well, i just worry about you.  A woman living alone has to be careful…

daisyfae:  i’m fine!  i sleep with a baseball bat under my bed, and have a 24″ blade under my night stand.

Mom:  Is that a knife?  Wouldn’t that only be good at close range?  They say most people are afraid to use knives when attacked…

daisyfae:  If there’s someone in my bedroom that i don’t want in my bedroom, i am quite certain that i’d have no trouble making some cuts…

Mom:  I just worry about you.  All alone…

daisyfae:  i won’t spend my life locked in a bunker, vibrating with fear, waiting for a troupe of psycho-rapists to skin me and wear my junk as a ‘girl suit’!  Mom, a life lived in fear is not a life lived.  [pauses to let it theoretically sink in]  Have i mentioned that i’m going to Mexico next month to do some drift diving off the coast?

I think i left the stove on...

I think i left the stove on...

* My oldest sister, S, has a concealed carry permit.  So do many people in my state.  They may feel safer… but the knowledge that a people in my neighborhood (let alone my family) who may not be all that bright are packin’ heat makes ME afraid.

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21 thoughts on “Fear and loathing

  1. Like him or hate him, Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” did a great job of highlighting how the US government sells the citizenry on fear. It’s sad that there is such a willing, accommodating and receptive audience for it.

    We have a little less of that up here, despite the media blitz attempts of so-called home security companies like “Alarm Force” who will sell you peace of mind for $25 a month.

    I’m not saying that there aren’t creeps out there who wouldn’t take advantage of a perceived weaker person, but situational awareness and the willingness to use deadly force, if necessary, go a long way to negating most threats. (Annie wrote, I think, about an “adventure” we sort of had in Dubuque, IA last year. I’m chagrined to admit that she had the situational awareness whereas I had my head firmly up my ass.)

    Did you know that attached to the latest bill on credit card reform, there is an attachment that will permit carrying of loaded and concealed weapons in national parks?

  2. situational awareness is key – although it’s also hard to justify listening to your “gut”… which is why i take my dog with me everywhere. he’s even been known to fend off a well-meaning friend who entered the apartment without warning. but try explaining that to someone indoctrinated with fear? no luck.

    as for guns, our campus tried to make it legal for students to carry guns on campus, “just in case” a student opened fire on classes, these other students could “shoot them down”. the logic involved in that thought process is fantastic, isn’t it?

    after hearing about that case, i went to the local sports store, and asked what it would take for me to bring home the sniper rifle they have sitting on the counter. they said a clean background check, and i could walk out the door in less than 10 minutes. not that i would ever carry it loaded, but i thought sitting in the back of the classroom with it would really show how ridiculous the new law would be…

  3. You never know when you might have to fend off a drug-crazed Park Ranger.

    Mothers like this seem to specialize in projecting fear of rape artists and “[vile ethnic epithet]s who will knock you on the head” as part of their control frenzy. Actually there are book references about the ubquity of it but not to bore anyone. I think they are seeing the world through their own unsavory hateful impulses.

    The one would-be sex criminal I ever encountered was so deconditioned that I lost him handily on a one-in-two grade, but I still carry pepper spray, which can double as a condiment.

  4. no doubt we live in a fear mongering society,, but i still might think twice about that path if someone just got raped over there… did they catch the guy? or is he looking for his next victim????BBBHHHHWWWWAAAAA……..

  5. There was a shooting at a high school graduation in Nashville last week. All the situational awareness in the world isn’t going to help much when there’s a psycho on the loose. But I’m with you…avoiding potentially dangerous situations to begin with is half the battle.

  6. unbearable banishment – yes. she’s always been that fearful. i was raised under the umbrella of terror. she made us wear ID tags in case we got lost, constantly warned us about rapists and murderers. When we were VERY young… it makes me sad. and by the way, begging is SOOOOO 1990’s…

    rob – i averted a possible mugging in a temple in cambodia a few years back when there with my daughter. friendly guy was guiding us to see something interesting inside a maze of temple walls. then another guy, further inside was waving to us… i saw a third man, with a flashlight, ahead, and caught sight of the first man circling behind us. grabbed my daughter by the arm, and we pushed past the first man to get back out to the crowds… she wasn’t sure what was going on at first. but we both got a bit more alert. THRILLED that national parks may no longer be safe from gun-carrying rednecks. Yippee….

    daisymae – ALWAYS listen to your gut. (well, except in my case when it tells me it wants an entire Sara Lee frozen cheesecake for breakfast). i am somewhat conflicted about gun ownership. sure. it’s generally ok, certainly a challenging sport, and a constitutionally protected right. Concealed carry, however, makes my head hurt… And automatic weapons, sniper rifles and the like? D’uh…

    sledpress – i think the “control” aspect of beating a fear of rape into daughters is dead on. Mom, in her interest in protecting us, wanted us to be terrified of strangers. Just in case. Math/statistics says ‘bullshit’, but that’s a different problem… Pepper spray is perfectly cool. Non-fatal, effective. That’s what i carried when i had an issue with a crazy stalker woman at work. Wouldnt’ have hesitated to use it…

    paisley – it was near Mom’s place, about 60 miles from where i ride. They caught him. i still lean on math and probability when doing my risk analysis… and the odds are STILL pretty good that i’m not going to be the chosen one. Again, i’m aware, cautious and have decent avoidance skills…

    hereinfranklin – Welcome to The Park! Glad you stopped by! You’re absolutely right. For crowds, gatherings, and being in public places (stadiums, airports, etc), there are a few simple things i do to manage such random risks. Always know two exits (for example, do you know a second exit from your grocery store?), avoid large expanses of window glass, always know where the nearest exit to the outside is (airports). Geeky, but all risk mitigation.

    On the even more geeky side, it’s good to know strange facts – if someone rolls a grenade toward you and you can’t escape or find cover, drop face down to the ground, feet toward the grenade, cover the back of your neck with your hands. Lets your legs absorb more of the blast… (don’t ask why i know these things… i’m a freak!)

  7. Daisyfae

    Damn, and all these years I’ve always worried about jogging in the park in the pre-dawn hours and having 4 ugly girls over power me to take total advantage. Scary.

    Let your legs absorb most of the blast..and open your mouth so your brains will not blow out. Taught that @ basic training.

  8. See, I’ve been a victim of fear momgering (heh,heh) for a long time. But it’s true too, that IT COULD HAPPEN. This is an issue for me, obviously, so I don’t take too many chances. I WISH I was less fearful about being out by myself on a bike or whatever, but I have the alarm on when I’m alone in the house. Jeez. Maybe I need to be hypnotized. Or carry a magnum in my shorts.

  9. Seriously, what’s the point of letting that bullshit rule your life? There are dangers everywhere. The fucking hills have fucking eyes.

    Still, how bad ass are you? “Oh yeah, I got a blade.”

  10. renalfailure – the IDF is not to be fucked with. between the krav maga and the arsenal of lethal weapons of death and destruction that can be lobbed at anyone, anywhere, anytime? they be badass muthafuckahs…

    kevin john – best to close your eyes, submit, and create fantasies to survive such an attack… not worth dying to protect your virginity. oh, and thanks for the reminder on the open mouth – percussive effects.

    fragrant liar – it gets beat into most of us. i just got really good at math along the way, and have studied ‘risk management’. knowing the PROBABILITY of something that COULD happen is critical in decision calculus! i COULD be swallowed by a whale. How likely is it? i COULD be killed in a terror attack. but it’s MORE LIKELY that i’ll be struck by lightning! and it’s more likely that i’ll be struck by lightning than for me to win the lottery! Math is your best friend!

    uncle keith – recommend you stay clear of ‘hobo rape territory’. and run like a crazy motherfucker when you hear banjo music in southern maryland…

    DP – ahh… a sailorman…. i’m sure Lo, TG wouldnt mind if you set sail for a few days, weeks, months years…

    rassles – exactly, sister! Fuck the fucking eyes in the fucking hills. oh, and i am pretty badass. It’s a small machete. A Mother’s Day gift from my son last year… Word.

  11. The first time I went camping alone, my mother was terrified I’d be eaten by a bear. In a populated state park. Suggested I go to Seattle instead (lived in Bellingham at the time.) I said “Now that’s scary.” Now I live in a supposedly high crime neighborhood in Seattle, and feel perfectly safe at 3 AM in a wheelchair. Of course, I do have a dog with me. I think it’s more likely I will be hit by an SUV taking a corner too fast while I’m in the crosswalk. Still, I don’t walk around with my head up my ass ipod on loud in my ears when I go downtown.

  12. alex – nothing, so long as they don’t have prior convictions…

    nursemyra – i’ll mostly be breating air from a tank of compressed air! i think the swines are safe!

    silverstar – moving with confidence, not being ‘wired’ and simply paying attention are pretty powerful avoidance mechanisms. sometimes, when pms flares, i almost WANT someone to ‘get stupid with me’. Just to vent a little…

    cat – tasers are good, but are also pretty close range. they require aim. in the dark? when operating in close quarters? sharp objects don’t require as much aim…

  13. I agree with you–you CAN’T fucking let your life be governed by fear. Once, Steven Phillips told me that I shouldn’t hang my keys near my door, a practice I began long ago when I got sick of losing my fucking keys, and one which has worked really well for me for, oh, say, about 10 years or so. Anyway, he told me that if someone broke in, then they’d have all my keys, right there, without even having to search. I told him what my Grandpa (on whose birthday I was born, no less), who refused even to LOCK HIS DOOR, always said, “If someone breaks into my house, I don’t want to have to get a new lock, too.” That makes TONS of fucking sense to me. Go “No Fear!”

  14. stankalicious – Yay! mom still locks her storm door, even though no one has a key. if she has a medical issue? guess who’s likely to die on the floor awaiting help? yep. she can’t work the “probability” math. she’s more likely to have a heart attack than suffer a home invasion. (sigh)

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