Christina M. Currie
Christina M. Currie's Touch of Spice column appears Fridays in the Craig Daily Press. E-mail her at email@example.com
What amazes me sometimes is how a specific theme works itself into your day. I often find myself talking about one thing in the morning, only to have the topic come up in several different ways throughout the day.
That happened, yet again, a few days ago. I was at a meeting where, as often happens, everyone starts discussing the "what ifs."
I'm not big on "what ifs." I'm more of a fatalist, a "what happens will happen" type of gal. I sincerely believe the only way to handle a problem is simply to deal with it when it occurs.
That's not to say I don't believe in having a contingency plan. But, mostly, I think worrying about the "what ifs" is a waste of time when there are so many actual things to plan for.
The funny thing is that one man at the meeting pointed out scientific studies that show, of 100 things people worry about, more than 95 percent of them never actually happen.
How many times have you imagined how you're going to handle a conflict or even just a conversation with someone? You think of how it's going to go, the witty and point-proving things you'll say. How you're going to overcome all opposition and persevere in such a way that those nearby will break out into resounding applause.
How many times do you get to say or do a tenth of the things you thought?
In my case, it's darn close to never.
Ironically, the same conversation occurred between me and my 7-year-old daughter, Katie, just the night before.
We're planning a trip to Disney World (actually, the girls are excited to fly, dying to play in the ocean and really, really want a trip to Build-A-Bear. What I can't get them to understand the concept of is Disney World. Who are these kids?).
Anyway, Katie finally mentioned that she was terrified of being in Denver (where we'll spend one night) because "I can't even say it, Mom, so I'll just say 'twister."
Evidently at some point, she heard there have been tornadoes in or around Denver, and she's mortified at the thought of being within 100 miles of a potential tornado.
Yet another one of those times when my daughter has made a statement that deprived me of words.
I explained that twisters don't come all the time. That they're fairly rare.
I didn't assuage her fears, so I got right down to the meat of it.
"Katie, what happens if the sky falls down? There are earthquakes, tsunamis, blizzards, ice storms and volcanoes (I know, at this point my daughter is on her way to becoming agoraphobic).
"But," I continue, "those things happen or they don't. You can't control it and you're never in a place that's totally exempt from natural disaster. If something like that ever actually happens to you, then, well, you just deal with it."
She was nodding, so I think I was getting through a little.
"You mean, you can turn around and drive away fast?"
I explained that I'd been in several states in the tornado alley, and that I've never seen a tornado.
"Really?" she asked incredulously.
I wasn't exactly lying. I have never actually seen a tornado hit the ground. Just after the movie "Twister" came out, I had an unnatural desire to see and photograph a tornado. So, I drove to Oklahoma with my camera in the front seat just praying to see that phenomenon.
Then the wind started blowing. It started raining. According to the radio, there was a tornado watch in several counties and a tornado warning in several others. They listed the counties.
I had no clue what county I was in.
The rain fell a little harder, the car was rocking from the wind and lightning started to flash.
Then, I started praying again.
"Please, God. I don't want to see a tornado. I don't want to see a tornado."
Both prayers were sort of answered. I may have been near a tornado, but it was too damn dark to tell.
In the literal interpretation, I had not actually ever seen a tornado. I wasn't lying.
But, of all of my platitudes, that's the one that had the most effect on Katie.
I don't know if she inherited my fatalistic view or learned anything about the futility of worrying, but in the end, she was OK stopping in Denver. She'd take the risk if it got her to the beach (again, no mention of Disney World!)
Oh well, children learn in their own time.