Fear.

So, it's time for the weekly blog post. I'm pretty happy at my attempt to stick to regular blogging. I think we're three weeks strong now with no lapses. So give it a week or so, and I'll be right back to sleeping in instead of writing. 

I'll start this week's blog off by sharing a story from a few weeks ago: 

I live in a small apartment complex in Burbank, CA. It only has about 16 units total in it. I generally do my laundry in the common area laundry room on site, which has a couple washers and dryers. I may be 1 of 3 of the tenants that actually use the common area laundry vs. having purchased my own in unit w/d setup.  

Generally, there isn't much overlap over using the machines. In order to do my best to avoid overlaps, I usually reserve my laundry times for late at night when everyone is asleep, or during the day while most people are working traditional 9-5 schedules. 

Last week, I was doing several loads late at night. I was doing sheets, towels, clothing; you name it. One of the machines broke mid-wash, so I had to dry it several cycles to get it dry. We loaded a 2nd dry cycle up, and headed out to grab a late night bite to eat.  

When I came back, I had found my wet clothing taken out and set in my basket on the floor, as well as my wet towels taken out of the machine and put in one of the dryers, while someone else's laundry was drying in the dryer my clothes were in. Noticing there were only 5 minutes left on the dry cycle, I waited to see who it was that had the audacity to touch a stranger's clothes.

Neda and I sat there chatting for a bit before a portly young dude came walking down to the laundry room. It's connected to our garage, so it's a relatively long walk to get to the laundry room. His face knew immediately that we were waiting for him, despite his attempts to play off his total fear.
 
When I confronted him about touching my laundry, he asked dumb questions, lied, and avoided answering my most direct question of "what the fuck makes you think it's ok to just take someone's wet shit out, and place it on the ground?" His reply was simply "well, you were taking too long, so I (basically made a choice)" To which I replied "what if your choice got your ass kicked in the middle of the night?" To which he replied, "wow, really?" 

Neda, ensuring clearer heads prevailed told him to get his shit and get upstairs, to which I added "before your pussy mumbling further pisses me off and this shit gets ugly," again to which he replied "really?!"

Now perhaps I overreacted a little bit, but it honestly felt like an invasion of privacy. To have a stranger touch your belongings, let alone your laundry filled with your underwear, as well as your girlfriend's felt intrusive. Not to mention, the balls it took to just do it. 

This whole thing (and wow this is long, so thanks for reading) led to a discussion between Neda and I about how our society lacks the certain amount of fear that existed back when we were younger. When we were younger, there were things you just didn't do to maintain your safety. You knew, that if you overstepped certain lines, or put your nose where it didn't belong, you were potentially putting yourself in danger.  

That world is long gone. I think because we coddle our population so much. Imagine this: People's feelings getting hurt over things someone said (when I grew up it was "sticks and stones, right?") lead to public, video-apologies to the nation. Many comedians discuss it in their act, but we quite literally live in a world of pussies.  

I think fear is healthy and necessary to govern our society. I remember growing up in Philadelphia, the "big kids" were older kids you just didn't fuck with. They smoked, they cursed, and if you chose to interact with them, you were risking your life. So we just didn't. It probably wasn't THAT serious, but it didn't matter. We just steered clear. 

Our whole entire law enforcement and judicial system is based on fear. Fear of getting caught, fear of the consequences. Naive people would tell you that most people don't steal because they know it's wrong, but I truly believe that's bullshit. Most people don't steal, or commit other crimes because of the consequences if they get caught.  

Dov Davidoff had a great joke on his album about judging people being healthy. I couldn't agree more. Yeah the dude with a knife is probably fucking dangerous, so how 'bout ya don't assume the best and think he's just a chef.

Anyone that thinks judgement is negative is right, but it's also a necessary evil. One of our female comedian friends was recently telling us about how intimidating it is to be in a room full of horny male comedians, and how she feels like a piece of meat, and at times could be raped at any moment. While the shoe definitely fits (I can't think of a more rapey group of entertainers), I compared it to the concept of being a white person in a room of black people, and being afraid. We all agreed this was judgemental to assume, but not ridiculous. The point was, don't allow your agenda of being politically correct to put you in situations that make you uncomfortable.  

Now I for one think that intentionally putting yourself in these positions of discomfort and learning to tackle your fears is a great character building exercise, but it's amazing to me how much there is a different standard between the two examples. If a white person said "I'm terrified in a room of black people, because of the stereotypes," we would call that person's views racist and out-dated. However, if a woman stood in a room full of male comedians and said "I'm terrified of men because they rape people sometimes," we would totally endorse that as normal precautious behavior.

So which one is right? The answer is both. Here in America, I want you to be afraid. Be afraid of whatever scares you. That's your right. Fear is healthy. To not be afraid of anything is to be fucking crazy. That's far more dangerous than being afraid of everything. Be open and honest about your fears. Don't be full of shit. Perhaps addressing these fears in the moment is the best way to make progress. Maybe avoiding the things you're afraid of is the best way. I'm not here to tell you which one to pick. I'm just asking you to understand there isn't a difference.  All fears are irrational, because they're almost all based on assumptions.

There are plenty of things to be afraid of in this world, and one of them is DEFINITELY getting your ass kicked if you touch my fucking laundry. 

Posted on May 14, 2014 .