Sunday, July 25, 2010

AtHC: Around the House Carry?

And the potential practicality of apparently ridiculous and excessive preparation.
A few thoughts on the scope and range of the EDC ethos, as a defense made against my own doubts.

When you're padding aboot your domicile, perhaps clad in the comfortable uniform of repose, 'tis a mite silly to be hauling along a knife, innit? Yes, that's how I felt too, though it didn't stop me from doing it. (I think it's fine to recognize that something you do is silly, but that doesn't mean you should stop doing it if you don't also believe it to be wrong or harmful.) Starting about a year ago, before going from my room to the living room to watch something on tv, I'd sometimes/often slip a folder in my pocket as if I were going out, and then I'd feel like another ridiculous knife knut obsessively preparing for the sudden collapse of society at any moment, or an invasion by those [insert appropriate epithet] [associated color] [disliked minority group, political leaning, or nationality]s that paranoid survivalist types love to fear. However, I don't really feel so silly about it these days because the practice has demonstrated its value to me. A few brief anecdotes (or you might want to just skip to the conclusion):

— Back in February, my life was dominated by the Olympics. Around the same time, my UKPK Drop Point (factory second) finally arrived. It was one of my most anticipated knives ever because I knew it would be rather perfect for my purposes, but it got lost in the mail and after two months I had no expectation of ever seeing it. When it did appear unexpectedly one day, I was loath to let it far from my sight; as I lounged about, consumed by winter athletics, the UKPK sat in my pocket just about the whole time. And I felt silly about it, but I just really liked it, so I did it anyway. On one of the first days I had it, I was watching with my mom and she asked me to open a difficult piece of mail for her. I always open mail with a knife because... that's who I am, obviously, and since I had one already on me I was able to immediately zip it open for her and hand it back. I could have ripped it open by hand if I'd had to, or run off to fetch a knife; it wasn't a big deal... but it was very convenient to be ready for it. That got me to thinking more about the practicality of my silly habit.... More on that later.

- Shortly after the last occurrence, probably also during the Olympics since the seating positions were the same, my mom was sitting on the couch when she found that a tick, carried in by one of the pets, had found its way to her and was now crawling up her arm. When she realized what it was, she started to freak out, but I was able to quickly help out by telling her to hold still while I pulled out my tiny Ladybug Salt and intercepted it. I whisked it up onto the blade, carried it off, then used the back of my ferocious 4" keychain knife's blade to apply enough force to dispatch the monster before sending it to a watery grave. Now, in all seriousness, I'm really glad I had a tool that allowed me to respond to that so quickly and effectively. What would have otherwise been a more unpleasant situation was taken care of immediately. That went a long way toward changing my mind; if something I'm doing is proven to be able to help someone else, it's worth continuing.

- Most recently, I was again in the living room, this time to watch the Tour de France (yes, it seems I'm only there when there's an epic, multi-day sporting event to watch) when... my dad received a box of avocados in the mail! He wanted to open the box and show them off, so he came over and asked if I had a knife, even though I was in my lounging and watching mode. That amused me, that he expected me to have a knife on me even then, and didn't think it a silly thing to ask. And yes, I had my Cat in my pocket because I'd just been opening something of my own. He of course commented on how sharp it is... everything seems very sharp indeed when your main around-the-house cutting tool is a pair of scissors you got in a multi-pack from the dollar store. But I digress; the point is that having it was good, not having it would have been less good.

So, my conclusion, after all those words to describe a few trivial anecdotes of barely significant occurrences. Basically, it's this: I carry a knife—among other things—with me every day because they're useful/helpful/handy/convenient for a great many tasks I might encounter within a typical day, so having them available is simply prudent, sensible, and forethoughtful. Furthermore, the same kinds of tasks I often encounter when out in The Real World can also be found at home, and being at home is no reason to be less prepared to deal with them by having the helpful item I need a short walk away instead of on me and ready to go—especially if such continued preparedness comes with little or no additional inconvenience. So, in my experience, in my life, in my environments, in my situations, I've found that carrying a knife even when not leaving the house is just as justified as when I'm anywhere else, and the same goes for a light after dark. I'm not going to carry a pry bar in my pajamas, or an emergency saw or a mylar blanket or a fire steel, because those are less versatile and cannot legitimately be expected to prove useful in that situation and environment—to carry them would be *actually* ridiculous. But, there's nothing ridiculous in carrying any tool that has been confirmed useful in that particular environment.

(As I type this, I'm reclining in my cozy fleece pants. My FRN UKPK Lightweight (CE FRN UKPKDP LW...) is in the pocket and ready to go, but completely unnoticeable at 1.9oz.)