Wednesday, January 18, 2017

I'd rather poke a Jaguar


Finishing is hard. We say starting new things is hard – our monkey brains resist anything that destabilizes the norm. New is unpredictable because, well, it is new. New means the unknown. This is why we say the monkey resists change. Fears it. Change is the ultimate in risk because unlike staring down the hungry lion equipped only with a spear, change is not nearly so defined.

Change is staring down the hungry invisible ghost armed only with your spear. Given the choice, the monkey will prefer the lion. At least the lion is capable of being studied and that study capable of producing predictable patterns.

There is another place we fear. A different kind of unpredictable. The finish line. Spend a significant amount of time navigating the waters of change and risk and unpredictable possibilities and that becomes the comfort zone. It’s possible that is not true for everyone. Possible even that it is some form of adaptation that sounds a little off.
It is what I find comfortable. It is an uncomfortable comfort. Waking up facing unscripted possibility on a frequent basis is weary-making sometimes. It can get annoying and I can be known to say things like “I’m all done with X”. When X is the murky unpredictability of uncharted water. But being honest, All Done usually translates into just dropping anchor for a while to get my bearings.

So the finish line creates its own monkey struggle. If the uncharted oceans are where you –me – feel comfortably uncomfortable, finishing means the chart is complete. We now have sailed the expanse of these oceans, we have charted the shoals and the where the winds are variable and the deepest channels.

The monkey asks now what? When change isn’t the Threat in the common expression, when the change is evidenced by all the uncharted space becoming known, there is a risk we might go looking for big cats to poke with a stick. Just to see.

The challenge – the discipline – is to let the stick lay. To leave it be and to finish charting the territory.

…I’d rather poke the jaguar.*
A few years ago there was a viral video of a game keeper relocating a Jaguar. *The cat wouldn’t get out of the carrier in the new location so the game keeper prodded it with a stick through the opening of the carrier. It worked. The cat was not amused. It bolted from the carrier and in a flash turned on the game keeper. In our house, it became a meme “don’t poke a Jaguar with a stick”.  I never said I was the sharpest crayon in the box…

Thursday, January 12, 2017

don't trust the wings

Don’t trust the wings-

I am all down with finding powerful and creative ways for women to live safely. I struggle though with band aid solutions to personal safety.

The fingernail polish that is going to detect date-rape chemistry in your drink

or the latest sensation sweeping the ‘net, Angel Shots

Angel shots consist of a series of code phrases representing a specific drink at the bar. When you order a specific “shot” it tells the bartender you are in various types of trouble. One signals the need for a cab or Uber, one signals “call the cops”, another signals “I need an escort to my car”. I think there are a couple more in there, can’t remember.

And that is the one of a couple problems with calling on these wings to save you from a situation breaking bad. If I can’t remember after reading 3 different articles about it – and I am writing about it, am sober, not in a highly distracting environment, and not the least bit adrenalized - 

then a stressed, distracted, possibly intoxicated woman who hasn’t studied and rehearsed the drill isn’t going to remember the complex code either.

On the list of memory issues, the bartender needs to be up on the code as well. All the bartenders, actually. In all the bars. Everywhere. If Angel Shots are going to be truly useful you can’t expect me to remember the code names for all the different Angel Shots and remember which establishments they will work in while I am adrenalized, intoxicated, distracted, frightened –

It’s a nice idea, this code. The nail polish is a nice idea. To my knowledge, it’s still just an idea. You can’t buy the stuff.

Like band-aids on a 3 year old’s invisible boo-boo, nice ideas make us feel better. They don’t create useful change.

You’ll stop trying to get one over on me when I make it evident the consequences will cost you dearly (maybe - if you don't move on to an easier target then I have learned something important about my options). If my code words at the club make you nervous, you weren’t a real problem to begin with. Band-aids work crazy-well on invisible boo-boos.

Sexual assault is not an invisible boo-boo. Imaginary angels will not wing themselves down from the sky and shelter me from harm. Not going to wing down for you either. Rocks are hard, water is wet - fiction doesn't fix reality.

Don’t rely on angels and mood-ring fingernail polish you can’t yet buy. Don’t play make-believe when the stakes are real. And high.