Posts tagged ‘fear’

October 4, 2011

Homo Homini Lupus

Yep. You read that title right. I’m showing off my dead language skills and that’s Latin for “Man is a wolf to Man”. In my specific case, that would be Loulia is a wolf to Loulia but there is no Latin translation for that.

I’ve turned into my own worst enemy in the past few months because of this wonderful thing called Internet and that other wonderful thing called Kindle.

The first one allows you to have a wealth of information at your fingertips, anywhere, at any time. The second allows you to become a book bulimic except that you don’t have to hide to binge because nobody can see the cover of what you’re reading and the amount of it.

Now, throw these two items in a blender, add a copious dose of pregnancy and watch the monster take a life of its own!

If my husband had his way, all pregnancy confirmations would come with an automatic cancellation of one’s internet subscription. It’s already bad enough that, in normal times, we can do enough research to convince ourselves that the small bruise on our arm is the beginning of gangrene and our limb is about to fall off… now imagine googling the same stuff with the word “pregnant” attached to it. There’s enough information out there to convince a rational lady that all her symptoms indicate she’s going to give birth to a pony. I stopped counting the number of false frights I’ve caused myself because of the things I read online. And yet, I cannot be stopped.

The world of ebooks isn’t any gentler. Digital content is extremely easy to accumulate because it doesn’t take up any physical space. As a result, reading 10 books on the same exact topic becomes a reality because there is no visible pile of paper to shame one back to rationality. If unstopped, this will lead to the development of tunnel vision and turn me into a mother who is super knowledgeable about what to expect when she’s expecting and clueless about how to deal with The Expected after he or she is born. Though there is a remote chance my knowledge of sphincter law and nausea triggers may come in handy when handling a baby…

In all seriousness, I think this compulsion to research and read about everything extensively is partly rooted in superstition and fear. There’s so much unknown and uncertainty ahead of me (will this pregnancy go to term? will be the baby be OK? will I be a good mother? will I still have a life?) and the accumulation of information gives me an illusory sense of control. Also, some people stupidly believe that preparing for the worst may prevent it from happening (did I tell you I’m an expert in plane crashes?). I realize that sort of anguish does not do any good or serve any purpose. I bet pregnancies were a lot more laid back in the analog age. Good thing I have an unlimited yoga pass and practice everyday. Sat Nam!

December 30, 2010

It Can Wait

Watched AT&T’s 10 minute documentary on texting while driving today; it’s called “It Can Wait”.

Powerful stuff. I lost my best friend to a drunk driver so the act of doing moronic things behind the wheel really hits close to home. Yet, I’m ashamed to say I’ve typed away at my phone multiple times while cruising the freeway. It didn’t feel wrong, I felt in control and felt that I was safe as long as I didn’t take my eyes off the road for too long. Because I’m that good of a driver.

This short movie though really affected me because it showed that texting while driving not only threatened the life of the person doing it (I was OK taking responsibility for my own life), but also endangered the lives of others. One guy hit a cyclist and will never forgive himself for that senseless death he caused.

The movie also shows that the worst thing that could happen to someone texting at the wheel isn’t necessarily dying. A guy survived but his head was so damaged, he lost the ability to perform routine tasks and will be forever dependent on others to do basic things for him.

Finally, the clip shows the last words in the text messages that were sent before the fatal accidents. “Yeah”. “Where u at?” “LOL”. None of them were substantial. None of them were urgent. All of them could have waited.

Other PSAs were done on the same topic. They all used scare techniques to tell people not to text so they don’t die. Here’s a British example; a very shocking, very graphic video.

Did it scare me? Yes. Did it stop me from texting at the wheel? Not really. The ad did not give me a simple reason not to engage in the dangerous behavior. I either got away with it or didn’t. What makes AT&T’s piece so much more compelling and effective is the slogan.  Fear and gory images end a conversation while “It can wait” becomes part of it. Fear is avoidance. “It can wait” is personal responsibility. It’s a response one can use to quiet an urge. It’s a sentence we can tell a friend. It’s an invitation to put things in perspective and decide to be safe. It’s empowering.

We need more of that.