on living in fear


About the other day… yesterday, in fact.

I was at the gym, hefting around some heavy weights (chest-pressing with 35 lbs in each hand… not bad for an MS patient “pushing 41” in a few months) and had a brief chat with a guy, I’m guessing mid-50’s. He said something about the doctor wanting him to take it easy, since he “tore an eyeball” and had had surgery a few months before.

I said, “detached retina?” and told him I’m an anatomy teacher. “Yes!” he said, and asked me where. I told him–it’s a college in downtown Seattle (whose name I still don’t directly mention here, I’m searchable enough, thank you). He freaked out, and only half-jokingly mentioned that in that neighborhood, I need my tear gas and rifle…

SERIOUSLY? Come on. I mean in Capitol Hill (the neighborhood where I work), we have our share of homeless and druggies, and there’s the occasional middle-of-the-night rape (less than 5 per year?)–but I’m there during daylight. And compared to other downtowns, Seattle is pretty darn safe.

I felt sorry for this guy, living his life in fear. And I told him where I’d grown up (near Oakland in the ’70’s… passed by there enough to see what real crime was like… you know, places with regular shootings) and he wasn’t convinced. But… he avoided me in the weight room the whole rest of the time I was there. (Silly.)

Not that I advocate for doing the most dangerous things, all the time, but find a balance. After all, even staying home isn’t even the safest option. (Electrocution? Bleed to death from a chef’s knife cut?) And another vote in favor of TRAVEL and getting some perspective…

2 Responses to “on living in fear”

  1. Agreed. Funny enough I was talking with a colleague at work this week and she was freaking about taking the C train at 8 p.m. and her niece was going to Brooklyn. I heard a whole lecture on crime increasing under DiBlasio and homeless people are sleeping in the street! Uh, I always take the subway if I am capable of walking and used to take it in 70’s NY to the Bronx, at night. Aware not fear. Fear is instinct but it’s an alert not a stop sign.

    • Ha! My husband’s a New Yorker (I looked at your blog and see that you’re from LI–he was born in Manhasset) and we get back there for family sometimes. I digress… I’m also not the biggest DiBlasio fan, but seriously? I don’t see things hitting anarchy level any time soon. Awareness is important (y’hear that, kiddies with noses buried in electronics?), for sure. But fear is worse, and breeds hatred.

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