Kakashi Hatake in Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci spring-summer 2013
when you know a word in english but not your native language
when there’s no english equivalent to a word from your native language and vice versa
accidentally switching between your native language and english in a sentence
hearing someone speak your native language when you’re on vacation on some weird ass country
Okay, so there’s this Pulitzer-prize winning article that was published in the Washington Post a couple of years back. It’s called Fatal Distraction, and in it the author tries to get to the bottom of why these incidents happen.
The profile of the parent who leaves his or his child to die in a hot car is all over the place. Race, income level, education level, doesn’t matter. A very small minority have a history of neglect or abuse, but the vast majority are clearly not abusive parents. If anything, they’re the kind of parents who dote on their children.
So the author asked a memory expert: if the parents are so focused on the well-being of their children in general, how does this possibly happen? And the memory expert explained it thusly:
Firstly, back in the ’90s, car safety experts announced that the airbags on the passenger-side front seat could kill children, and recommended that child safety seats be moved to the back of the car. Next, shortly afterwards they recommend that to maximize safety for the very, very young, the seats be turned to that they face the rear.
Following these guidelines—which most parents do, in order to protect their children—does protect the child. It also very effectively removes a child from a parent’s line of sight.
So what? Who cares if you can’t see the kids? What kind of parents forget their kid in the back seat of the car?
The memory expert the author spoke to is a molecular physiologist who researches how stress, emotion, and memory interact with each other. And he has found the following:
For purposes of this discussion, the brain has two zones. The Upper Zone has the pre-frontal cortex (which thinks and analyzes) and the hippocampus (makes/holds onto immediate memories). The Lower Zone has the basal ganglia, which handles voluntary but unconscious actions, like swallowing, leg crossing and uncrossing, etc, stuff you choose to do, but don’t really realize you’re making that choice.
Think of the two Zones as painters. The Upper Zone is a master of fine and delicate techniques, able to balance several intricate tasks, like a Da Vinci. The Lower Zone is like the friend that comes over to help you paint your house in exchange for beer and pizza—lots of enthusiasm and energy, but he handles things by flinging paint at the walls. Which does get the job done, admittedly, even if he can’t do much else.
In your brain, Da Vinci and Pizza-and-Beer Guy usually work separately. But when a job requires familiar, routine motor skills, Da Vinci will buy a six-pack and ask Pizza-and-Beer Guy to come over and help And they actually work quite well together, for the most part. Pizza-and-Beer Painter quickly and effectively distributes the paint in the large background areas, and then Da Vinci comes in, tidies up a little, and then starts filling in with the Mona Lisa.
In real world terms, the neurological Da Vinci + Pizza-and-Beer Guy team-up explains why you can drive to work or school in the morning, and not really recall which route you took to get there or what you saw on the way over. Da Vinci is in the Upper Zone, organizing your day and reviewing tasks with you, while Pizza-and-Beer Guy is downstairs in the Lower Zone driving your car. Da Vinci knows that ultimately, the scenery isn’t that important and so doesn’t bother to pay attention to it, while Pizza-and-Beer Guy has all he can handle with getting you safely to work, so he ignores the scenery, too.
The memory expert found that if stressors are introduced in the brain, such as high emotion, lack of sleep, and/or change in routine, then Da Vinci gets overwhelmed trying to manage everything, and Pizza-and-Beer Guy doubles down while still clinging to what he knows. The end result is that Pizza-and-Beer Guy will accidentally paint over large portions of the Mona Lisa while Da Vinci is dealing with the stress…and Da Vinci won’t notice unless some kind of alarm sounds.
The memory expert then pointed to the case of a mom who exemplified the above:
- She had been up most of the night babysitting and caring for her own cranky child (stressor: lack of sleep)
- The tired baby slept in his car seat, instead of babbling like he usually did (no audio reminder of child)
- Because the mom was planning on bringing the baby’s usual car seat to a fire station for professional installation, the baby was in a different car seat (stressor: change in routine) located behind the driver’s seat where he could not be seen from the rear view mirror (no visual reminder of the child)
- Because the family’s second car was being loaned to a relative, the mom drove her husband to work that day (stressor: change in routine #2)
- Because her husband was sitting in the front passenger seat, the baby’s diaper bag was placed in the back seat, instead of in the front passenger seat where the mom could see it (stressor: no visual reminder of child, #2)
- Because of cell phone conversations with her boss about a crisis at work and with a young relative in trouble, the mom spent most of the drive stressed out solving other people’s problems (stressor: dealing with multiple crises)
This mom’s neurological Da Vinci was swamped dealing with stress. Her neurological Pizza-and-Beer Guy was swamped trying to get her to work that morning. He painted over the baby, and there were no alarms—no visual or audio reminders—to warn Da Vinci that it had happened.
I say all of that to say this. Whether or not you leave your baby to die in a hot car has nothing to do with being a fool or loving your kids. It has to do with unintentional failures of memory under stress.
Memory is a machine, and it is not perfect. If you’re capable of forgetting your cell phone, you’re capable of forgetting your child.
Once you understand that, then you can take steps to build in some safeties:
- ALWAYS PUT SOMETHING YOU NEED TO HAVE FOR WORK OR SCHOOL IN THE CAR NEXT TO YOUR BABY—your purse, your work ID badge, your laptop or tablet, your cell phone, whatever. It forces you to look back there, which in turn means you’ll see your baby.
- MAKE ARRANGEMENTS WITH YOUR CHILD CARE PROVIDER THAT THEY WILL ALWAYS CALL YOU IF YOU DON’T SHOW UP WITH YOUR BABY, AND THAT YOU WILL ALWAYS CALL THEM IF YOU DON’T SHOW UP AS SCHEDULED. If they expect to see you by 8am with the baby, and you’re not there, your cell and your office phone should start ringing at 8:01am.
- If you can afford it, consider buying a child alert to let you know that the baby’s still in the car. The one I linked to consists of a sensor that you attach to the baby’s clothes, and a key chain alarm. It sounds an alarm on your key chain if you walk more than fifteen feet away from the sensor. Additional key fobs can be purchased. Other devices are outlined in this article.
The death of a child left in a car is not a failure of love. It’s a failure of memory. And it can happen to anyone.
Visit http://www.kidsandcars.org/ for more info.
so my plan for halloween is to dress up as a Nazgul with my black horse and go trick or treating but instead of saying “trick or treat” i’ll either scream or hiss “Bagginssssssssss, Shhhhhhhire” and then ransack their villages in my search for the One Ring
i was joking
oh dear god
once i take my bra off, don’t ask me to do shit for u bitch bc once that bra comes off, i am clocked out of life. i am done. i am finished. i am logged the fuck out.
IT HAS BEGUN
THREAT LEVEL PUMPKIN
THIS LEVEL OF SPOOKY IS TOO INTENSE
Do people really argue that Palestine, a region with fertile land and proximity to the sea, plus a coastline, was empty because that is beyond imbecilic you’d have to have read no history to believe that a region with that many natural resources would just sit mostly uninhabited.
THERE’S BEEN AN INCIDENT AND THE PRESIDENT’S SON (WHO IS SO VERY LOVED BY THE PUBLIC) NEEDS TO BE MOVED NOW
[movie narrator voice] IN A WORLD WHERE THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD’S ONLY WEAKNESS ISHIS QUICK-TO-DODGE-SECURITY- ENTHUSIASTIC-FRESHLY-GRADUATED-FROM-COLLEGE SON, THE COUNTRY IS ON EDGE WHEN THE FIRST SON DISAPPEARS. THE RANSOM DEMAND IS HIGH BUT THE STAKES ARE CLEAR THE KIDNAPPERS MEAN TO SEND A MESSAGE AND DON’T PLAN ON RETURNING HIM ALIVE. THE ONE FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT WHO QUIT HIS JOB MONTHS AGO BECAUSE HE WAS AFRAID OF GETTING TOO CLOSE TO HIS CHARGE NOW IS DETERMINED TO BRING HIM BACK
[dramatic fade to black, the music swells and then fades, and then the only sound is the slick slide of leather over skin]
Major Sam Cosplay (Australia) as Jessica Rabbit.
Photo II by: Chris from Volk Photography
Photo III by: Lorenzo So Photography
Holy shit you are doing it right…
Oh my stars.