The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Flirting with Disaster

Are you a risk-taker? A dare-devil? Someone who throws caution to the wind and laughs in the face of danger? Nice to meet you. I wish I had just a little more of that in my make-up, but I'm far too practical and responsible to see it happening. It's a curse, I tell you.

Let me tell you, it's pretty darned hard to be this logical and still have a little whimsy...which I totally do. Maybe it's more about informed choices and choosing battles and all that stuff. Maybe I'm just a giant chicken. I'm not sure.

Knowledge is power, you know. And fear is, often times, based on a lack of knowledge. I'll be the first to admit that there are a great many things about which I know very little. Though, I'd like to add that when I'm in a situation where I need to act, and I don't have the information I need to do it with knowledge (instead of in fear), I consult the experts and try to make the best informed decision that I can make. Hardly a unique approach.

When my youngest was born and there were so many medical issues about which I had no knowledge, I drove the doctors and nurses absolutely nuts asking them questions. When they wanted to put a central line in, I had to know everything that meant, before I could feel comfortable with it.

But those are more calculated risks. Risks that have more tangible benefits, at least in my mind. What I don't get are unnecessary risks. I'm not one to ever jump out of a perfectly functional airplane unless I am forced to do so at gunpoint. Ditto bungee jumping. Now, I recognize that some people find great sport and thrill from these activities, but, personally, I have to question the sanity of those people.

Before my ex and I got married, he worked a job where he travelled a great deal. And so, because he had a penchant both for driving fast and getting speeding tickets, we purchased a radar detector to help him avoid at least the latter half of that equation.

The week before we got married, we were driving around getting last minute errands done and he, literally, reached up to where the radar detector was installed and turned it off. This made no sense to me. It didn't cost extra money to run it. It wasn't taking power away from other systems in the vehicle making them less functional. So, I asked him why he was doing that. "I know this area. There are never cops here." What difference does that make? You're not buying and using this product for the cops you EXPECT. It's for the cops you DON'T expect. And so, I'm sure you realize, that about fifty feet later, we heard the sirens and promptly got the speeding ticket. Unnecessary risk. You have the tools to protect yourself, but choose not to use them.

How do you feel about your personal, phone number, address...being in the hands of strangers? It bothers some people enough to have their phone number unlisted. Most people, however, are content with just not giving out that information to strangers. There was a time, recently, that my ex felt it was appropriate to give out my personal information to the various women he, himself, referred to as 'fuck buddies'. Casual sexual partners, with whom he was clear about never wanting a romantic relationship. Women he'd met through online singles groups. He (and his friends) would laugh (and I don't mean that figuratively) at me for being so uptight about it. I don't know. Maybe I was.

Hell, it bothered me that they had HIS information. My kids were spending two weeks a month at his house and all of these women knew where he lived and where they would be. But what could I do about that? Not much. And that sucked.

Giving out my personal information, though, I felt that was going too far. And it wasn't even as if he was giving them the information as an emergency contact kind of thing, either. It was just careless disregard.

The addage about a woman scorned was coined for a reason. I knew that at least one of these women had invested a great deal of time and money in their 'relationship'. He, himself, had told me he'd had to talk to 'Nancy' twice to tell her to back off and that he didn't want more than a casual sexual relationship with her, despite her begging him to give something more serious a chance. These women...these people...are strangers to me. I only know of them what my ex has chosen to share (which is, understandably, very little) or what my kids have mentioned to me. Consequently, I felt it was completely unnecessary for them to have personal information about my whereabouts. Even more than unnecessary, unwise.

There is story after story after story about the dangers of strangers having your personal information out there. Despite me asking him to keep me and my personal information out of his sexual liasons, he felt that was too much to ask. That I was overreacting. Perhaps.

But whose decision is that? Who gets to decide whether you are imagining a risk or whether it's reasonable? Who gets to decide where your personal freedom ends and the risk of another person's begins? Does someone else get to dictate what your comfort level with any situation should be? Aren't personal choices just that? And how does respect factor in?

Parents decide, for their children, what is in their best interest. It's our obligation to raise them in a safe and healthy environment. We decide what risks are reasonable for our children to undertake or be exposed to. Ironically, one of the standard things most parents teach children is not to give strangers your personal information. We teach them that they don't get to make choices for other people. We teach them that personal freedoms are important, and that if someone doesn't want to play, you shouldn't force them. We explain to them that all people are different and all people should be respected for those differences, and their individuality embraced. Well, maybe redneck parents don't teach their kids those things, I don't know.

What I do know is that it makes no sense to me that we work so hard to instill these values in our children, and then put so little effort into living them as adults? It just strikes me as very foolhearty. And even moreso in a situation where you have the tools to protect yourself and refuse to use them. Maybe I'm overthinking it, though. I've been known to do that.


Blogger Spider Girl said...

I'm definitely not a risk-taker. In fact, I can hardly make a decision at all, so consider yourself lucky on the scale of big chicken to brave and decisive.

I don't want ANYONE but immediate friends and family to have my personal info. I don't think thats unreasonable.

I hate that whole thing about paying for bad decisions for years and years to come (such as bad relationship choices)! Which may be at the root of my indecision issues...

5/31/2006 2:17 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

I was a great risk taker before my daughter.

Now, every decision must be weighed through the idea of how it effects her.

Spider Girl...You will have to pay for your bad decisions, no matter have a good time!

5/31/2006 3:35 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Julia -

I suppose there's a similarity there, as I was much more a risk-taker before the kids came along. And, like you, now I weigh everything in terms of how it will affect them. Part of that, likely, is that I grew up somewhere in there, too.

Spider Girl -

Ditto Julia. You're gonna pay anyway, no matter how you play it. Trust me on this.

As for personal info, though, I don't think I'm phobic about it. I just don't see the problem with me choosing to maintain my privacy. Maybe I look at it differently because I've shown a certain level of respect by not divulging the personal information of others. Definitely, I feel it's an avoidable risk and that I'm old enough and sound enough that I don't need someone else to make that decision for me.

6/01/2006 8:34 AM  

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