21. November, 2009 - construction

As if the holiday season wasn’t busy enough, I’ve decided to remodel the bathroom at my house between now and Christmas. All the fixtures have been purchased, and today I’m going to look at some tile. Should be quite an adventure.

And switching gears onto a totally different subject, I’ve been thinking about the Ratliff article linked below, and I’ve got a few thoughts to share. Go read the article if you haven’t already.

The first is that Ratliff wanted to be caught. He started getting cocky and took up Wired on the challenges they set him. If he’d truly wanted to stay hidden, he could have avoided going to the book reading where he got caught. He could have avoided creating a new twitter account and posting details about his whereabouts for people to find. He was setting himself up for failure because he wanted to get back to his “real” life. It’s like a kid who “runs away” but comes slinking home at supper-time.

Or take Burn Notice in which “super-spy” Michael Westen is supposedly hiding out, but has friends and family that he has daily contact with. He’s not hiding, and one of the things that bugs me about the show is just how bad he is at some things that seem like elementary survival instincts for someone in that situation.

In fact, the only popular portrayals I can think of someone disappearing successfully are Into The Wild ISBN:9780679428503 in which Chris McCandless successfully disappeared (though people figured out where he’d been after the fact), and My Name Is Legion ISBN:9780345295224, which is Science Fiction.

So that’s thought one: disappearing is hard, especially as we move into a more transparent society. And human nature being what it is, most people are really bad at it. They want to get back to their life, and end up doing things that make them easy to catch. But yet thousands of people do manage it — their stories just don’t make it into popular media. Probably at least in part because their stories aren’t all that interesting if they don’t get caught.

Which brings me to the second though, that’s touched on in Ratliff’s second (first chronologically) story I link below. Is hiding really worth it? If you don’t fix the reason you want to hide in the first place, you’re really not going to improve your life by hiding. You’ll throw away whatever support network you have, and still have whatever self-destructive habits caused you to want to run away in the first place. Doesn’t seem like a very effective solution to me.

So while I don’t think anyone has to worry about me disappearing anytime soon, it’s still a fun mental exercise. And hey, it’s easy to point to the mistakes that appear in the popular accounts and have thoughts like What a maroon! What an ignoranimus!

And I think that’s enough musings for the morning. Time to get out and find some tile for my bathroom. Have a good weekend!

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:02:43.