One of the things I liked the most about this book was that I could totally relate. For the longest time I felt like I was the only one who didn’t know how to build a bomb out of bubble gum or repel from a 9000 story building with just a container of dental floss(I am not that far into this survival thing, so maybe none of that is possible and perhaps I exaggerate for effect, but that is how removed I felt from the ability to take care of myself), but it turns out there was at least one other person who was in need of serious awakening. Neil Strauss.
Emergency is a very easy, funny read about a guy who although very smart was completely clueless. It’s his journey from being a wimp to self sufficiency.
Page 76…”But, I’d rather live as a wimp than be a dead hero.” “How many baby steps into the abyss would it take before I finally had the courage to climb out?”
I know that it is hard for some people to believe the complete fog I used to live in. Blissfully unaware of anything around me, but I was clueless to most of what went on around me. I did the typical safety things like wear a seat belt, lock my doors, and pay attention when I walked outside, but I didn’t see a need to know anything else.
I had no idea what kind of cars my neighbors drove. I didn’t even know what kind of car I drove. I had no idea how to get from here or there without a GPS. If my GPS failed me I would call my husband and he would figure out where I was and how to get me where I need to go. I always took the same way to a place and from it. It never occurred to me that knowing an alternate way might serve me.
Page 74…”something changed in me, as it did for many people, in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. It felt like the day I beat my father at arm wrestling. In that moment I realized, that he could no longer protect me, I had to to take care of myself.”
As I have started to take more responsibility for my safety I have, of course, focused a lot on situational awareness. Not just looking to see if there is a suspicious looking person, but looking at everything that is around me.
A month or so ago, I needed to take my daughter to her friend’s house. The mother gave me verbal directions, but I didn’t have an address or a piece of paper to write the directions down. I told my husband I wasn’t sure how to get there, so as he typically did, he was going to figure it out, but I said no, I can do it. Later that night the mom had emailed me the actual address, but the next morning when I went to put into the GPS, I thought this is nuts. I have lived here 7 years and I do not know enough street names or the layout of my town well enough to get around without an electronic voice telling where to go. I tossed the paper and decided to try to get there based on just what the woman had told me.
Yes, I know this is sad and that driving from my cute little neighborhood to another cute little neighborhood is not exactly urban warfare or all that difficult, but for me it was an important thing to do because I was that far under a rock. I made it there just fine.
After that day I made it a point to drive a different way everywhere and to not use my GPS. This is not risky at all, for crying out loud if all else failed I could just drive in the direction of a freeway and hop on it, but I refused to allow myself that option. Again, this is not about wow how smart and clever I am because what I was doing was not all that smart or clever, but it was about getting out of a habit of depending on other people and things, and engaging my brain.
Page 246…”At times, it seemed there would e no end to the amount of things I needed to do to prepare. learning to survive meant learning every essential skill mankind had developed on it’s journey from Homo habilis to civilized humanity. And I wasn’t opposed to to doing that.
I am like that. What started out as simple a way to protect myself has become a passion of things I enjoy, but it doesn’t have to be.
Several of people I have spoke with have commented that it seems like a lot of work to think about situational awareness. They all have said they couldn’t do it because it would be hard for them to enjoy their lives if they were always looking for exits and counting how many people are in a room etc. We can just skip the discussion on “yeah, but not as much work as fighting off a bad guy” cuz that argument hasn’t worked with them so far.
I try to explain that at first it did take conscious effort, but now it is just what I do and it really takes not thought at all. I now notice things and remember them even if I am not aware I noticed them. It is similar to how I can focus on the road, check my mirrors, look behind me, etc without really concentrating. I aware of what I am doing, but at the same time I have been doing it so long, I am not really thinking about doing it. FYI, I have never been in a car accident or got a ticket(except one when I was 16). Knocking on wood.
Last night when I went to take my daughter to volleyball I asked her if she knew where it was and she said yes. Her dad always took her. I don’t know why, but I didn’t think to pay attention to how she was telling me to get there. I dropped her off and then went about my business else where. When it was time to get her I realized I hadn’t paid attention and wasn’t sure how to get back to her. I could get to the general area, but wasn’t sure what street to turn down. I was driving and every street looked like the one, but none felt right. Then I remembered I saw a Chic-Fil-A on the corner as I left the gym. I kept driving until I saw one, turned and it was there.
Again, this is not some monumental self defense tip and for a lot of people it will be, well duh, but I never ever would have “seen” that before. I just would have panicked and called my husband.
I saw this on The Cornered Cat FB this morning…
Safety tip: Do you know where you are, right now? (It’s amazing how many people don’t.) If you needed to call 911 and give directions to your favorite coffee shop — could you do it? Get in the habit of noticing and remembering *at least* the street name and major cross streets for the places you’re most likely to be.
I used to think I was the most clueless person that lived. I thought I was unique in that everyone else would have fought the bad guy, had extra food, water, flashlight and everyone would at least know what kind of cars their neighbors drove. Sadly, I have since discovered I am unique in no way. I am all too common. When I am outside of this gun blog world, I appear to be the most aware person out there. People have no idea at all how to get from point A to point B. The lawyer I talked about in my post about Maryland, he had to follow us everywhere because he could not remember how to get from the hotel to the range, back to the hotel, to the restaurant. He needed more ammo, but fell apart at the thought of finding Wal Mart. My husband spoke with a waitress at the restaurant we were at and gave the man the directions she had given my husband. The man was a nervous wreck. My neighbor across the street leaves his garage open all the time and when I ask him if he notices the cars driving up and down our street he says, “Uh, no”. “I never notice that.” He is a Marine. I asked a teacher at work once for directions to the copy store and he didn’t know the name of the cross street that our schools sits on. The place he goes to work every single day.
I am knocking any of these people. I was one of them. I am simply trying to show that this not an aberration. It isn’t a deviation from the norm, it is the norm.
Page 248…All my life, I’d never had to do anything practical. If something in my house or apartment didn’t work, I called a repairman or a landlord. If my car broke down, I called AAA. if I was hungry, I had food delivered. If I needed something affordable, I bought it online. If it wasn’t affordable, I used credit. My tools were the telephone and the Internet, which instantly summoned the services of other people.
But as then world of survivalism opened up, I began to realize that I’d been rendered completely helpless by convenience.
If you are serious about being more secure, even if you don’t want to carry a gun(but really you should carry a gun), there is so much you can do to increase your odds of dealing with whatever curve ball life throws at you. Maybe start to think of some of the little things you can do right now, for free to up your odds.