Dead birds got me thinking about survivalism and situational awareness.
Among other tchotchkes and geegaws the sellers of my new-old house left were a number of cutsy birdhouses in the backyard. I was going to pull them all down. But before I got to it, anonymous-looking brown birds moved into one, did what birdies do in the spring, and produced babies. I don’t know a lot about birds, but I’m guessing this pair has used this nest box before. I can’t imagine that they’d otherwise choose it — given that it’s smack in the middle of a small yard that’s now filled with predatory dogs.
In any case, Ma and Pa Birdie made their nest, made their babies, then worked their little wings to the bone bringing food to the family. That went on for a couple of weeks. Friday morning I discovered scruffy, confused-looking adolescent avians hopping around on the ground. They could fly — barely — but didn’t seem to know how to get out of their own way. I kept the dogs in the house for hours and only let them out when no fledglings were in sight. But to no avail. By evening, birdie bodies had turned up all over the yard and the entire brood was dead.
Sigh. I love my dogs. But they are dogs and by definition they like to kill small moving things. It was as if Mama and Papa bird had kicked their youngsters right into canine jaws. All their work of raising a family — for naught.
It was sad and I felt responsible. Still, if there were Darwin Awards for feathered creatures, that pair would certainly be finalists for making their nest in such a hazardous spot.
Talk about a total lack of situational awareness!
A more human (and smarter) take on survival and situational awareness came from The Orange Jeep Dad, who wrote about how he found himself thinking like a survivalist on — of all things — a trip to Disneyland.
Annoying though it may be to have to think like that, I’ll bet every person here has had a similar experience — if not hundreds of them.
You check into a hotel room and the first thing you do is memorize all the exit routes posted on the door, right? You have more extra sets of car keys than most people have keys. You keep so much emergency gear in your vehicle you barely have room for cargo (or, in extreme cases, for passengers). You sit as close as possible to an exit every time you go to a movie. You keep an eye on the other customers any time you walk into a convenience store, ready in case one turns out to be a robber. If you live in earthquake or tornado country, your eyes automatically scope out the safest spots any time you enter a new building.
Yet as you look around, you see so many people cluelessly ambling along in condition white. (One of the things I notice a lot is women leaving their purses, sometimes wide open, in the kid seat of shopping cards. Yegads.)
And of course we all can “go white” sometimes, not due to cluelessness, but because we’re intently focused elsewhere.
So tell me about your situational awareness. How has it changed as you’ve become more aware of preparedness or the responsibility for self defense? Where (outside of emergency situations) does your awareness most manifest itself? And how does it manifest itself? And when — to tell tales on ourselves that might help somebody else — have you failed to maintain enough situational awareness and what were the consequences?