If you read my post on Alamere Falls, you’ll know that I spent most of the trip worrying about Poison Oak.
So I have to admit, I suffer from mild paranoia and hypochondria at times (not that I let it stop me from traveling), so I thought I’d share some everyday maps for people of a similar affliction.
1. UV Radiation Map
The EPA posts updates on how strong UV rays are each day. I check this before deciding whether or not to use dreaded sunscreen or just put on my hat. All those news articles about the indisputable efficacy of sunscreen have made me faintly paranoid, since I rarely use or have used the stuff.
2. National Allergy Forecast
Everyone seems to suffer at least mildly from allergies. Mine have gotten worse of the years in the Bay Area. After learning that it was causing me yearly sinus infections, I became more paranoid about allergies, so much that I check this map nearly daily to see whether or not I have to take a Zyrtec. (Unlike most hypos, I hate taking stuff when I don’t have to.)
3. Crime Mapping
There isn’t much you can do about this one, except shutter up and make sure take a Maglite or Pit Bull on your evening stroll. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to know how much and what kind of crime occurs in your area. After learning my neighborhood was relatively safe, I stopped carrying my Maglite with me. As for the Pit Bull, there’s no way in hell I’d ever get one of those “pets.”
And, last, but not least . . .
4. Registered Sex Offenders in Your Neighborhood (CA folks only)
Nothing stokes your paranoia like knowing where your neighborhood pedophiles are. You might want to think twice before checking this one out. I’m not sure if there are non-CA equivalents, but if you’re in California it’s your right to know. As to whether you want to, that’s a different question.
Generally, that’s enough for me. But here’s some other ideas I’ve yet to venture into: earthquake and flood risk maps, traffic accidents per capita, and suspected haunted houses.