When Lightning Strikes
It happened again last weekend. We were at our favorite beach, enjoying the late summer day. As it often happens in Florida in the summer, the sky began to darken and the waves on the gulf churned. A storm was coming.
The sky looked like deep, blue velvet. Jagged lines of lightning descended from dark clouds to brilliant sea-foam green water. Thunder rumbled in the distance. It was going to be a big one. Thankfully, I was observing all of this from the safety of our house.
The few people scattered along the beach quickly gathered their chairs and umbrellas and headed back to their homes.
Then it happened. In the midst of the approaching storm and the more cautious folks leaving the beach, a family of six walked toward the shore. Seriously? With lightning popping all around, you’re taking your children out on the beach?
I cringe every time I see people remain on the beach when a storm is clearly coming. I can’t watch. Do they not know that Florida is the lightning capital of the country? That Florida ranks the highest for lightning deaths? And the most frequent strikes are in the Tampa Bay area? I’m afraid that one day I will have to call 911 to report a lightning strike on a beachgoer.
This got me to thinking. What are some other things that I can’t watch? What are some other things that make me so uncomfortable that I have to walk away? I came up with the following:
People Who Ignore Protective Barriers
I cannot bear to watch people step over barriers, usually to get a better photo. There is a reason for the barrier, you know. I remember years ago, we took our kids to the Grand Canyon. It was pretty amazing. At one of the observation points, there was a large group of tourists, including women in high heeled shoes. Several of these women stepped over the rock wall so their husbands could get a better photo. It was too much. I had to walk away. I didn’t want to witness someone plunging over the edge and into the canyon. Sometimes it happens. Click here for some statistics.
The Brink Of Waterfalls
There’s something mesmerizing about the brink of a waterfall. Seeing thousands of gallons of water rushing over a precipice is unnerving. Sometimes, it feels like an unseen force is attempting to draw me over as well. A seemingly harmless river that simply ends and plunges hundreds of feet below. This summer, I had to walk away from the brink of Linville Falls in North Carolina because of two little boys playing way too close to the edge. Yikes!
Children Who Stand Up In Shopping Carts
Seeing a toddler standing up in a shopping cart causes me a great deal of anxiety. I can visualize them toppling over and landing on their head. I always have to turn around and go down a different aisle. The thought of a small child toppling out of a shopping cart is simply too much.
Earlier this summer, the Wallendas crossed Times Square on a high wire. I couldn’t watch. I also couldn’t watch when Nik Wallenda crossed Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon on a high wire. And these events were televised from locations hundreds of miles away. No wonder I’m not fond of circuses.
I am the daughter of a nurse yet I am extremely squeamish when it comes to anything medical. I don’t really care to see broken bones, x-rays, blood or any other bodily fluids. When I was in the fifth grade, our science teacher brought a real human brain for us to see. I remember the entire fifth grade waiting in line to see it. The closer we got to the door, the more I began to panic, so I respectfully declined the opportunity to see the brain. Then, in sixth grade, we had to watch a movie about the negative effects of drug abuse. I had to leave the room. I guess it worked, though — I never used drugs.
When my son was around five years old, he went through, yes, through a set of French doors. (The reason why is a completely different story, which we won’t address here.) He cut his arms up pretty bad. While we were at the emergency room, he calmly watched the doctor stitch his cuts as I cowered in the corner trying not to pass out. And, the most dreaded words I heard as a young mom were “mom, I think I’m going to be sick” — usually said while leaning over my face as they woke me up from a sound sleep.
I can’t watch the scary movies. Nope, can’t do it. During my senior year of college, some scenes for a thriller were filmed on our campus. My roommate was chosen to be an extra in the movie, Ghost Story. She even got to say a line. It was very exciting. When the movie was released, I went with her and her family to see it. I “watched” the entire movie with my hands over my eyes. It was thirty-seven years ago, when movies were much more tame, but I still can’t watch it or any other scary movie.
As I look at this list, I see the root of my anxiety. It appears I don’t want to be a witness to someone being hurt or even worse. Perhaps it’s an unreasonable anxiety but it is real. How about you? Do any of the things I mentioned get to you too? Is there something else that you can’t bear to watch?
Here’s a little something that may help.