The crane

Laura K. Silver is a trustee of the Jewish Light who writes a blog for the paper’s website ( Laura is married and the mother of two middle school age children.

By Laura K. Silver

Right now, there is a crane headed backwards up my driveway. I need a new roof and parts of it are too steep to carry safely by hand, so the roofers have ordered a crane. My driveway is narrow. extremely sloped, and there are retaining walls on both sides. The crane is enormous and I’ve walked away. I’m not going to watch this.

I felt the same way a few months ago when other contractors were cutting out a door in my foundation for some construction at my house. The sound of the saw going through the concrete made me anxious. I went for a long walk.

It seems that lately I’ve been deciding not to watch a lot of things—James Foley’s beheading, Ray Rice’s elevator video—to give you a few examples. Am I being willfully blind? Maybe, but I don’t think so. I don’t need to see a beheading to know that how incredibly disgusting it is and it doesn’t make it more gruesome because I saw it. I have a large vault of knowledge and an active imagination. I don’t need the actual thing. I’m good. 

Domestic violence videos? Thank you, no. Is it worse because I see it? No. Will I understand it better after viewing it? No. I don’t need a video to prove that there is never a reason to strike your spouse and I don’t need to see a video to prove that domestic violence is prevalent in the US. 

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My philosophy on all of this is pretty simple. Once you see something, you cannot “un-see” it and just because it is available doesn’t mean that I personally have to view it. There is no obligation on my part to watch.

Which leads me back to the crane—either this crane is going to make it up my driveway without hitting the retaining wall or it won’t. I do not need to hold my breath, grimace, make sounds that really should only come out of my mother’s mouth, or watch between my parted fingers. I can walk away, because my viewing this will not affect the outcome.

It only affects me.