Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Don't Be Too Careful

Street food vendors in Mexico City
Be careful.  Two words that can really jack my jaw some days. I'll be careful not to make this too much of a ranting post, okay?  But no guarantees. Full disclosure.
 
I have a friend who is working in Cambodia for three months. He recently posted a photo of flooding in the area where he is temporarily residing while on a teaching gig for nurses. Someone commented "be careful" and it really tripped my trigger. Granted, be careful is a common thing people say without much thought. But I have to tell you, my inner rebel mentally holds up two hands sporting my middle fingers when someone says it to me. Shocking, I know. But she's in there.
 
Do you remember when you were a child being told to be careful to stay within the lines while coloring? Don't talk to strangers, they said. Be careful to bundle up, it's cold out there. Be careful to follow the recipe. Be careful, it's dark by 8.
 
I don't want to be careful. I don't want to be afraid to drive down an unknown road. I don't want to live in so much fear that I can't visit a place I've never been, except maybe Afghanistan. Okay, you have me there. I don't want to avoid that homeless person who is sitting on the corner with a sign . I don't want to not talk to strangers. I don't want to not have the difficult conversations with people. I don't want to follow the recipe to the "T".
 
Recently, my hubby said be careful when I traveled to Nashville with my good friend. Apparently, Nashville has a very high crime. What town doesn't these days? I couldn't even believe he said it to me. This is the same man who took me to Mexico City a couple years ago.
 
We arrived in Mexico City at 10 o'clock at night armed with very little Spanish under our belts and took the subway, in the freaking dark, to our hotel. There are nearly 21,000,000 (that's million!) people living in Mexico City. I admit I had fear, and I'm sure if he was honest, he did too. We pushed past it and got ourselves to the hotel. The next day, we found our way back to the subway and went all over MC for the next 5 days. It was crazy fun and I loved every minute of it. One day we met a guy (Arturo) on the corner who wanted us to rent a taxi from his cousin. He said he would drive us anywhere we wanted to go for cheap. Red flags went up for me. No way was I going to go. I pictured my hubby and me on the front page of the newspaper as American tourists gone missing. We saw that guy every single day we were there and I looked him straight in the eye and said, "no, we're not going with you". Yes, I was guilty of being careful.
 
I have hundreds of examples of not being careful that have turned out just fine for me. 
 
In the future, I hope you'll think about it before you carelessly say be careful. Is it necessary to be careful all the time? 
 
Just sayin.
 
love, susan





7 comments:

  1. I enjoyed your rant. I will admit that I often use the phrase "be careful" (especially to my cop son) and this is one time I will really mean it. Now I will think of you when I say it!

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    1. Perhaps if I had sat with my rant a little longer, I would have said there are many times when saying "be careful" is called for. That's the thing about rants, it comes from a place that doesn't always have much reason. All I know is it has been on my mind for a couple of weeks. Glad I got it off my chest :-)

      Thanks for dropping and I do hope your son is always careful in his work and stays out of harms way.

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    2. He tells me he can't always be careful but he will always try to be safe!

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  2. Oh man, this SO resonates with me! This is how I live. I haven't locked my front door, even when we go on vacation, since moving to the US 18 years ago. I talk to homeless people. I get close to freaked out dogs. My whole life is a series of dumb choices that almost always work out amazingly well! And no, I'm not a brave person, and I'm a complete coward when it comes to heights and other people's parties. I just can't stand to live inside a bubble. It's BORING!
    FYI, this stupid thing won't let me post with my correct ID. This is Belladonna - https://americansoustannie.wordpress.com/

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    1. Thanks for your signature on this! I don't know why BlogSpot is picky with some profiles. I am unable to comment on your blog for some reason. Thanks for chiming in. I got it from both sides of this rant today. I knew you did not live a boring existence the first time I met you. Who rescues unknown dogs? Only the ones who don't pay heed to being too careful, that's who. Who drives two days one-way to pick up an old one without too much thought? I recognize bold when I see it. Thanks for dropping in and commenting. You'll never hear me say 'be careful'. It doesn't mean I don't care about you or your welfare. susan

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  3. Yes, I take someone saying "be careful" as I would a benediction-a blessing. Had the young man who returned from North Korea been careful he would not have been arrested. Being careful in a foreign country means "take care to observe their customs and laws because you are not in America." JC tells me to be careful every time I travel alone. He adds, "You have to look out for other drivers." With the influx of too many people moving to Texas for employment, some of them bring their careless, dangerous habits with them, as if many Texans aren't a danger themselves. People get out of their vehicles and duke it out in the road and on the interstate.

    I looked up the definition, and I especially like this example: 2 done with or showing thought and attention: a careful consideration of the facts.

    Now, allow me this little bit and I won't take up more of your space here. African American children are "don't-ed" to within an inch of their lives from the time they are toddlers until they are gray haired adults. It stunts some of us spiritually while others choose to live carelessly, in defiance. It also protects many of us. The healthiest of us turn "be careful" into living consciously. Devil may care attitudes often bring on regretful consequences. Taking care also means taking care NOT to avoid certain people or even situations and circumstances, emotions, conversations about race, and having different opinions--like now.

    Taking care is basic common sense in action. At least from where I stand. As usual, your post made me think, and it gave me the courage to disagree based on personal experience. No, not so much disagree as share another perspective. Being careful saved me from being raped one night as I walked home from the bus stop when I was in my 20s. I could list at least a hundred other examples, but I won't. Thanks for letting me have my say, albeit with care. :)

    P.S. I was carefull not to drink water in Mexico. Why was I the only one of the four in our family to get parasites? Still shaking my head over that one. :)

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    1. Thank you, Limner, for your thoughtful reply. I received many thoughts on this as I posted on FB. All the responses I will undoubtedly give great thought to. We see the world only from our own frame of references, for sure.

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