The way so many people have been reared in virtual bubbles in the last few decades has led to all too many people wandering through life apparently feeling invincible.
Not so with me. I was a slow learner, but I have–slowly–learned both prudence (well, in matters of physical safety) and gained confidence in my genuine abilities through a process of exploration of things that weren’t always. . . safe.
No room here to detail all my childhood adventures and play, but they were more risky than most kids seem to experience nowadays (No, I’ll not explain the rules of Dodge-Rock. I’ll just say that we didn’t have nice soft balls to play with and leave it at that. . . :-)) By the time I reached junior high, I had had a major gash in my left foot dealt with by stitches, a bigger HOLE in my left hand, suffered unconsciousness from a fall (only about 20′ but not bad for a seven-year-old kid), broken arm (left again. . . Hmm. . . I see a pattern), broken leg (AGAIN, left, but other assorted head and limb injuries slightly disguised the trend :-)) and had twice been hit by cars while (properly!) riding my bicycle (the worst injuries came when the driver had to actually LEAVE THE ROADWAY to bash me off a shoulder *heh*). Later, in college, as a more wary bike rider, I was still struck twice by daydreaming drivers, although I saw them coming and was almost able to avoid them, resulting in only minor injuries–bruising and whatnot.
That I am not comfortable with heights probably helped me I avoid falls while free climbing during my college years. BY “free climbing” here, I mean I was wearing street clothes every time. Sneakers, jeans, etc. No falls, because b y that time I had learned some of my limits and when to push them, and practiced what safety measures I could.
Now, what did I see today that spurred these thoughts? A father pushing a tandem stroller (with the expected two kids) down a narrow street, moving WITH the traffic. I see this a lot around here, though. Folks walking–and often pushing strollers–down a highway that goes through town, a highway that is as narrow as legally allowed and is traveled by a great deal of 18-wheeler (and other) traffic. . . and, from my limited observations (I can’t set up an observation post and man it 24×7), most of the 18-wheel traffic speeds through town and much of it minds the lanes about as carefully as Bill Clinton observed proper behavior in the White House. Just sayin’. It has NO shoulder and NO sidewalk. And yet people walk down the highway assuming they are immune to stupid drivers approaching them from the rear.
The second “street rule” I learned as a kid (the first was the Stop, Look BOTH WAYS, and Listen before crossing ANY street) was “Whenever there is no sidewalk, walk AGAINST traffic”–so you can see what’s coming. It’s common sense that is very, very UNcommon nowadays, from what I see. Nope. Apparently, people just assume they are invincible and DO NOT THINK. (They don’t have to. After all, it’s everyone ELSE’s responsibility to look after THEIR welfare, isn’t it?)
Of course, timidity is another stupid problem fostered by a “rubber bumper” society, but detailing even one example of that would make a too long post even “too longer”. *heh* Just take it as given that I could list many, many other behaviors I witness daily indicating that folks are either too stupid to use ordinary,common sense safety measures or too stupid to take action when nothing dangerous threatens (Common around here: “COME ON! IT SHOULDN’T TAKE 5 MINUTES TO MAKE A SIMPLE RIGHT HAND TURN! Sure, there’s a bar ditch on the right and ya should avoid “ditching” your car, but COME ON! MAKE THE FRIGGIN’ TURN ALREADY!” *heh*).
Scairdy Cats and The Invincibles (Legends in Their Own Minds)–sometimes even in the same persons! It’s enough to drive one to despair. How can our society survive these weenies?