Crisis Adjacent

I have never been in the middle of a forest fire or a hurricane or a volcano eruption. I have never felt the earth open underneath me in an earthquake. I have never faced down an angry assailant or looked death in the eye. I have never experienced a major crisis but I have been close to a few. I have been crisis adjacent .

My father was in a plane crash and that was pretty tense for a while.Β  but I didn’t find out about it until after we knew he was OK. I have come across car accidents just after they have happened. I offered what assistance I could but I was never in any danger. I have been trapped on a Lake in the middle of a horrendous storm but with all the canoes secured together we just floated it out. I guess I have just been incredibly lucky.

Many years ago, a friend of mine was in Mexico during a horrific earthquake. She was terrified. She and her companions huddled in the doorway and waited for the shaking to stop. She left the country the next day. I cannot begin to imagine what she went through. Maybe this is why I enjoy watching disaster movies. It isn’t so much for the disaster but how people respond to it. The hero and heroine always come out looking wonderful but it’s the side stories that interest me. It is the image of a stranger reaching down to help another. They don’t discuss ideology or politics or even the weather. They just help one another. I know it’s a movie and I don’t ever want to experience a tsunami to find out how I will react. Maybe if I watch enough disaster movies, I will know what to do but one can never be absolutely certain until you are in the moment.

All the planning in the world can be derailed by a simple misunderstanding or a missed appointment. We can have the best intentions but at the moment we freeze . Why? Because life is not an algorithm. It is a series of moments strung together to form your life, your existence.Β  Our reaction to what is happening around us is predicated on our past, our experiences and our understanding of the situation. People with proper training react without thinking. Police officers , first responders. These people have trained and acted out scenarios so that they will know exactly what to do without taking the time to formulate a plan. Sometimes seconds really do count.

For the rest of us we just react, hopefully responsibly. But it is in that moment of crisis when all the ego is burned off and what is left is the true merit of a person. I wonder what I will do …

 

 

35 thoughts on “Crisis Adjacent

  1. Murphy's Law

    I hope you are never in a situation where you will find out what you will do. Nobody in their right mind would want to face that challenge. BUT, if that challenge were to confront you, I truly believe that you would handle the situation like a well-trained professional. You might fall apart after the crisis, but not during! πŸ€—
    Ginger

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  2. joylennick

    Fascinating, Pamela! I was nearly…assaulted by three lads many years ago, until one felt sorry for me and I discovered I was a good runner! That apart, I too have been lucky. I can’t imagine the terror victims feel during heavy earthquakes or plane crashes, and hope I never will! If, however, I do, I hope I will act in an appropriate manner and help someone. x

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  3. tidalscribe

    Yes I have always wondered how I would be when Tested! Like you I have avoided great disasters. Our house shook during the Meckering earthquake in Western Australia! I had a Xmas job in Harrods 1974, when an IRA bomb went off; everyone was evacuated safely.

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  4. iglengel

    Been thru one or more hurricanes – one shortly after having by-pass heart surgery and gall bladder surgery but they seen me hugging my heart pillow (to hug when I coughed after the heart surgery) when we entered the shelter (we had to leave our home) and the nurse at the shelter had us hunker down right next to her first-aid station. Made it but hope we don’t have to sit through another one. Well written, Pam.

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  5. rangewriter

    Oh this is a great topic and post. I, too, am untested–happily so. Throughout my career as a letter carrier I dreaded the day I would be first on the scene of some accident, disaster, or tragedy. I took a few CPR classes, but had no faith that I would remember any of that when I needed it. I was lucky to never find out. The closest I got to tragedy was to find a dead body…twice in 34 years. That was enough excitement for me. Seen any good disaster movies lately?

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    1. quiall Post author

      Wow! A dead body. I have had to do CPR a few times but I had been trained so it was fine. Have you seen the movie San Andreas with Dwayne Johnson? There are few really good scenes with people helping strangers.

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    2. tidalscribe

      I have lived in dread since swimming classes when I was a teenager that I would have to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation as it was called then. I never have, but I have noticed since Covid came along that NOBODY has suggested how important it is to be ready to perform CPR!

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      1. quiall Post author

        Once you learn how to do it. Train. There is no thought process involved, you just do it. In each case it was only for a few seconds. Lucky me.

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  6. Mark Lanesbury

    It is an interesting experience dear lady, to have life suddenly removed is a shock like no other. But it is that very thing that you realise you are hanging onto so much stuff that just really doesn’t matter. The bits of our lives we hang onto thinking they are so important…all get dropped on our scrap heap because we have found something else…us. And an appreciation of what we do have in life that is so much more important, that realisation that ‘we’ are more important than it all. And that moment will ask us to ‘see’ this truly, otherwise we will just keep wandering on, blind to what is there by the masks we wear, to others and ourselves πŸ˜€
    Oh, and I must say your ‘knight’ above is wonderful…and…it is holding a great power and a quiet strength. That hero with great courage who will go through anything to ‘save’ you but never expecting anything in return. What were thinking as you drew that? He is holding it well and I don’t think he was ever adjacent to anything but right in the thick of it πŸ˜€ ❀️ πŸ™πŸ½ πŸ¦‹

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    1. quiall Post author

      Thank you Mark. I drew that Knight probably back in the 70s. When Knights were considered heroic. In those days I still believed in honour and integrity and the White Knight. I agree with you, life does change, hopefully for the best.

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  7. bikerchick57

    Pam, I’m where you are at – crisis adjacent – in regarding to facing natural disasters. I’ve driven in horrible snowstorms and was two blocks away from a tornado many years ago, but nothing where my reaction has been life and death important. Then again, I did go through a personal crisis when I filed for divorce, lost a cat and moved my parents, all within days of each other. I somehow found courage to keep going and I think that’s what we may all need in any crises. Courage to react whatever way is required. I’d like to think that experience would help me in a survival situation, but one really doesn’t know until it’s there.

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    1. quiall Post author

      You had the strength to find your courage just when you needed it. That is incredibly commendable. Hopefully you’ll never have to rely on it again but chances are good it’ll be there when you need it.

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  8. floridaborne

    I was in Hurricane Donna as a child and watched the roof trying to be be blown off. My job was to replace the towel at the front door, held there only by one bolt lock that opened and closed the door.

    I was in the Earthquake that caused an express way to pancake and had been over the bay bridge 2 hours before (part of it had collapsed).

    There are others, but there’s only one purpose for saying this: I am thankful for each and every day that God gives me. You never know when it’s your time to be in the middle of a crisis. Each day is a gift.

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  9. Dan Antion

    I think that during those times, we react almost by instinct. We do what we are wired to do. Good people do the right thing, they step up and help. I am certain that if confronted with a challenge, Pam (and I hope you never are) you would act according to the way you are wired, which would be to help others if you can.

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