A conversation with a female friend went as follows:
Me: “I am not a very superstitious person at all. I don’t feel like those things ever do anything.”
Response: “I don’t have a a lot, but there are a couple that I do religiously. I don’t even think about it anymore”
Me: “Really? I would NEVER think that about you.”
Response: “Yeah… they are so subconscious at this point I don’t even think anyone else would even notice. I don’t even notice haha. But like…let me think of one…. Oh, every time I see an an ambulance I have to touch something red”
*(as she responds, she reaches her right hand to her left hip)*
Background: She is a twenty-year old born and raised in Boston, MA and currently living in Los Angeles, CA attending USC as a sophomore. Her parents are divorced and she has two younger sisters.
Context: This conversation took place as we were walking from class back to my apartment building.
Analysis: As my friend was telling me about a superstition of hers, she subconsciously reached her right hand across her body towards her left hip. At first I laughed, wondering why she did that, and when I told her why she was laughing she realized what she was doing. She explained that she typically would see an ambulance with its lights on while she was driving or in the car, and therefore, the closest thing to her to touch would be the red base on seatbelts. This superstition and “touching something red” has become so second nature to her that she literally acts like she is touching a seatbelt even when simply talking about the superstition itself. The fact that she didn’t realize what she was doing demonstrates how embedded folkloric beliefs can become in our worldview and within our daily actions. I was very intrigued by this interaction and loved gaining more insight into the depth of her superstitious beliefs as our conversation continued and developed.