Why am I so fascinated by disasters? I know that we as a people – an American people especially – have practically an addiction to such stories, but why me? What makes me the much-hated rubbernecker as I pass the mass of flashing reds and blues? Why am I drawn to high-budget movies of destruction, peril, and mayhem? Even my book choices reflect my gruesome fascination. This summer, apocalyptic literature was the order of the day. And right now my Kindle is cued to The Poseidon Adventure.
I’ve pondered this long – my excuse for morbid curiosity. Prolonged analysis has shown me…nothin’. I have no idea why I’ve been stung by this affliction. It’s not like I go all buggy-eyed and rub my hands together in glee. I don’t LIKE seeing people hurt! I’m the biggest sympathizer there is. I’ve never minded watching surgery programs, even thought being a surgical nurse might have been a good career choice for me, but I always look away at the first incision which seems somehow more personal, more painful.
I think I depersonalize the major disaster and separate real people from it all. And yet, it’s the people who are the most fascinating. These are the ones who have my awe and respect. There wouldn’t BE a story without them, right?
And maybe that’s it. Perhaps it’s because their exciting, albeit tragic, stories are lightyears away from my own reality. I look at my life story and think, “Two lines in the obits, that’s it.” The biggest dangers I have to watch out for involve weather warnings and the morning commute.
So their disaster becomes my disaster; their story, my story, where I wonder what I would do, how I would react, if I found myself facing the crash/tsunami/fire/epidemic/volcano. The realistic part of me, snuggled safely down inside my prosaic layers, knows without any doubt that I would be one of the 92% in the movie and/or book who don’t make it and slip forgotten into oblivion. But the hopeful side – that sweet little, hard-headed dreamer of a rebel who, even after all these years of proof to the contrary, won’t go away – she thinks maybe I could be the hero. Or, at the very least, a survivor.