I Read Everything I Can, Except the Time I Didn’t

When I get onto a subject or an item I’m going to buy or some bullshit that is going around on social media, I try to do as much research as a I can. When stuff pops on SM that just seems too crazy, I check Snopes and in particular if it’s something directly political, I try to hit Fox and CNN and some others just so that I can get a sense of how it’s being talked about. But listen, sometimes I react. Sometimes I take one article’s word for it because it feels too true to need backup, such as a direct video of some nonsense that Trump has just said. But in general, with almost everything, I have this computer and these resources and I try to get the best deals or understand what is safest for my kids or whatever. Except that I didn’t this one important time, which I think is worth mentioning because it helped me to see my blindspots.

My mom lives in the country in Texas, and she is smart and healthy, wearing a mask and staying distant. With everything going on in Texas, we are pretty sure we aren’t going to be able to drag our kids home to Texas for Christmas or Thanksgiving this year. It was a crushing realization to keep our kids safe from Texas and my mom safe from our kids. Then I had to tell my mom. She took it hard, but understood. We acknowledged that things could change between now and then, but if they don’t we can’t get to her.

Then I started to panic. I realized I hadn’t seen her in now 5 months and wouldn’t see her for at least another five. At 71, she is in great shape and mental health, but with a pandemic, I’m extra-freaking out above a normal amount. And this, dear readers, is the point where I stopped thinking and researching, which led me to waste a bunch of time.

I wanted to get my mom (what I know now is a) medical alert bracelet, but at the time I could not come up with the name for it. My husband ended up cracking a joke about “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” And here is where I skidded off the road and into the woods.

I had to look up that video so I could find the name of the company. The name of the company in that Video is Lifecall, but my husband was adamant that it was a company called Life Alert. Turns out he was right, but this all took probably 20 minutes to sort out, meanwhile, I had made no progress on protecting my mom.

Well Life Alert is a whole other mess. I couldn’t find out their pricing unless I got on the phone with someone, which I did. And then ten minutes into the call I realize I am working too hard to pigeonhole myself into one company who won’t share their prices. Usually, I am never on a call until I have done some cursory research. After all, they might be really expensive and I might not even know.

And turns out they were. I finally got their pricing, and then found out that there is tons of information on Life Alert costs if I had just done like normal and researched a bunch before going with a name brand. A name brand, I might add, that I haven’t really heard much about since the early 90s.

Anyway, what I think I discovered is that I had a blindspot for medical stuff and a blindspot for my mom. This led me to abandon my normal procedures of researching because I was panicked and wanted to solve this faster. It was that worry that caused me to want to just to pay to have it done, and have the worry gone. I’m not suggesting that companies prey on that emotion. I’m sure some do and I’m not saying Life Alert did. What I am saying is that there are going to be tons of other things in life that cause panic and recruit you to abandon your good sense. I sometimes do this with my kids. I certainly can do it with health concerns. I definitely do it with school supplies.

I won’t and don’t always have tons of time to devote to research and making the most informed choice, but if I can impart some wisdom from crazytown: be aware of your own blindspots. They could cost you a lot of money while telling you that you made the best and quickest decision.

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