how to handle 4 small-to-medium emergencies


Life’s all about learning and growing blah blah blah, truth be told there are an infinite number of things that can go wrong (in varying degrees of catastrophic shit) and I’ve only experienced a small portion of them. The most helpful thing, unfortunately, is the feeling of self-reliance that comes from having handled tons of shit-garbage situations and forming those experiences into a feeling of being able to handle being alive. Until that day comes for you (I’m still waiting on mine), here are a few tips and tricks from my misadventures.

you’re lost while driving and your phone is dead

Being lost is such hell, and even with a GPS-equipped phone, it’s easy to get turned around.GPS is a tricky bitch for two reasons:

#1: the act of using a GPS while driving in unfamiliar territory is confusing and potentially dangerous, and
#2: GPS will drain the hell out of your battery, potentially leaving you stranded in the previously mentioned spooky scary place

If your phone hitting snooze right when you forget the crucial exit sounds like something that could happen to you, keep the following tips in mind:

  • You can help reduce the battery drain factor by taking a screenshot of the directions (the text list, not the map) rather than letting it track your location across 300 miles.
  • Gas station employees can be your best friend. Last fall I took a day road trip to Cleveland so I could meet up with a friend from twitter. It’s a four hour trip one-way, and I didn’t adequately plan for keeping my battery alive the whole time. On the trip back in the dark, my phone kicked it, and while I did have a charger, it was for a wall outlet and not a car. Try asking whoever is working there really nicely if they’ll let you plug your phone in behind the counter — just make sure you’re very polite and don’t demand their attention while they’re busy with other tasks. They also may be able to help with directions (since they live in the area), know where you can get something to charge your phone, or maybe even let you make a call from the store phone/their cell.
  • Pull over sooner rather than later!! It’s very unlikely you will get less lost if you keep driving. This is especially important if you’re getting stressed or upset — the physical symptoms of freaking out make driving a dangerous task, so pull over and hyperventilate in a parking lot rather than on the highway.

getting followed by catcalling jerks

Once upon a time, like four months ago, I was a young fool and went out with a friend at night. While we were driving, a car full of teenage-looking dudes rolled up next to us at an intersection, shouted something incomprehensible and obscene, and drove off.

As I mentioned earlier, I was a young fool, and in a fit of ill-advised road rage, I sped up next to them while my friend and I yelled “fuck you too!” It was a satisfying jab against catcallers everywhere, until they started following us, right on the back of my car.

In retrospect, yelling back at them was probably not a super-safe idea, but what’s done is done. The priority at that point was to immediately get out of that space, because when random harassment escalates to that point, there’s no way to tell if they’re going to become violent.

I don’t have a lot of universal, #relatable advice here, because thankfully I’m not an expert in needing to be this sneaky, but I wouldn’t object to the title of Intermediate Sneaker. What I’ve personally found to be helpful in shaking somebody off is to put as much stuff as possible between you — whether that’s other cars, pedestrians, or a red light you barely snuck through, having physical barriers can go a long way. Even better if it obscures their view of you — tall guys and semi trucks can both be very useful, as well as sharp turns. Hopefully you don’t need it, because it’s absolutely nervewracking in execution.

you’ve accidentally hurt someone you care about (extreme apologizing)

This could also be called: HOW TO DELIVER A REAL APOLOGY for SERIOUS SHIT

1: approach them at a time that is good for them. if your offense is so egregious that they don’t want to share air with you, you might consider written communication, but only ONCE and very POLITELY. you can’t keep going to them, demanding their attention and emotional energy. say it once, at the best time you can, and back off.

2. explain that you acknowledge what you did was shitty. (because x, y, z). don’t make excuses, don’t try to get out of it. literally say “that thing i did, it was bad, i shouldn’t have done it”

3. actually say that you’re sorry, that you  deeply regret it, that they’re under no obligation to forgive you, that they can have as much time as they need, and that you understand that they’re upset and respect their right to be royally pissed. fade into the ether.

This is high level apologizing that’s unnecessary for most minor emotional tussles. Gods help you if you need to use this process, because it’s definitely not a guaranteed success.

school is a literal fiery hell

School can be so so garbage. I consider myself a fairly organized, responsible student, but I still regularly run into weeks where there’s just too much stuff that’s too hard. When it’s getting to be too much, I try to keep a few things in mind to get through it.

  • TEST ANXIETY: Taking practice tests that will be similar to the actual exam can be really helpful in dealing with test anxiety. If you won’t be able to use notes/references, if you’ll be under a time crunch, if you’ll be cold and have to pee, try to recreate that environment (at least a little bit). Talking to people who’ve already taken the class/professor and asking them what exams can be very helpful. Also, in situations  where my nerves have gotten so bad I can’t focus, I’ve found that it’s worth it to take some time (even like 2-3 minutes) to completely set the test aside and try to think about something else. Even in exams that are short on time, trying to power through questions when you can’t think straight is counterproductive.
  • TOO MUCH WORK TOO LITTLE TIME: You gotta triage that shit — weigh what will produce the biggest effect on your grade for a reasonable amount of effort. Yeah it would be cool if school would be about learning all the time. It would also be cool if universities weren’t organizations designed to drain you of money and the will to live. And as necessary as it feels to stay up late or all night, avoid it whenever possible. The thing about staying up all night is that, if you can’t think the next day, you end up farther behind. It’s a freaking trap, and truth be told you have to be realistic about what you can do within the boundaries of your physical needs.
  • PROCRASTINATION: Saying it’s easy to procrastinate on a heavy workload is so misleading; describing procrastination as straight up laziness completely ignores the fact that it it actually a very stressful activity, since it’s all gonna be in the back of your head making you feel groooosssss the whole time.
    It’s cliche-ass productivity blog advice, but starting just a tiny portion of your to-do list and ignoring the rest is a (fairly) solid strategy. I literally did this today with cleaning my spooky-gross apartment; I made a list, picked the easiest thing, then put the list away and just started doing the thing, and the momentum carried me into an adequate amount of getting shit done. And truth be told, this is way more effective if you give yourself permission to actually quit after half an hour if it’s that terrible. Just like…….do one teeny tiny thing.