Have you ever watched news coverage of a disaster and wondered, “What would I have done in the same situation?
We always view ourselves as handling it so much better, reacting faster; being the grateful survivors interviewed in the documentary of the tragedy.
Recently I had two unrelated situations remind me that I am no different than the folks I watch on the nightly news and shake my head for their lack of reaction and subsequent Darwinian Fail.
Situation #1: Sound asleep in a hotel room and am woken by the smoke alarm in the hallway outside my door. Do I a) roll over and go back to sleep b) get irritated by the smoke alarm and consider calling front desk to beg them to “turn it off” c) hold perfectly still and listen to hear anyone else leaving their rooms because duh…..it is a smoke alarm or d) all of the above.
If you chose D you would be correct! After going back to sleep and waking up to STILL hear the smoke alarm going I did everything else on the list. Yes….me! The girl who has a red sateen cape with the word “Anxiety Girl” on the back with the ability to jump to conclusions in a single bound did not react properly to a true (well, it was actually a malfunctioning smoke alarm) emergency.
There would have been another winner of the Darwin Award had that smoke alarm been triggered due to an actual emergency.
Situation #2: Sitting on beautiful Hawaiian beach watching the waves tumble to shore. All of a sudden we hear a horn continuously sounding in the distance, the whine reminiscent of something one would expect to hear during a ummmm….I don’t know…..a TSUNAMI?
Do we a) look from one to another and say, “why is that horn thingy blaring?”, b) look around at other beach goers to assess their level of alarm which might influence our course of action, c) stand up and look out into the ocean to see if there was a big wave rolling towards us, d) have a conversation about the fact that “they should really tell visitors what to do if that horn should blow”, e) finally pack up gear and make way slowly to condo because we simply cannot relax with that horn blaring f) all of the above.
Ding, ding, ding! If you chose ‘f) all of the above’ you would be correct.
Apparently we (or maybe it is just me) suffer from the delusion that it could never happen to us and this simply cannot be happening. In both situations there was hesitation or blatant ignorance of the audible warning of impending doom.
Honestly…..I disappoint myself.
I am the person who has to check to see if she left the coffee pot on when she leaves the house. I am the person who prints out maps of airports before traveling so that she is familiar with the layout. I am the person who has a Purell squeeze bottle in every vehicle and purse. I am “Jump to Conclusion” girl!
Apparently I am also, “it would never actually happen to me” girl and the “this cannot be real, there must be some mistake” girl.
The fact that neither one of the scenarios was in fact an actual emergency further reinforces that I would react the same way the next time!
I could add a g) this has happened before and it was nothing to worry about.
Go back to sleep.
(posted previously in the Alaska Highway News 2014)