I’m one of those people who is totally calm in the midst of a disaster.
Run away sailboat? No problem. I’ll concoct a plan and row the dingy.
Bus crash? Easy. I’ll get people to relax with the plethora of calming strategies I’ve learned over the years.
Bee sting? Bloody nose? Bad bicycle crash? Simple. Walk or limp calmly into the house or nearest location with a first aid kit and fix myself up. I’ve been locked in a garage with a mad hornet and not cried.
Death? Cancer? Alright. People need some comforting, I’m on it.
Unfortunately, this is not exactly a good thing. The gravity or sadness of the situation never hits me until later. For right now, I’m numb and pragmatic. It’s easy to be the calm one when other people are freaking out. It’ll just hit me later. Maybe a day from now or a week. It might even be a month or a year. But it’ll slam into me with the force of an eighteen wheeler carrying elephants, and I’ll breakdown. There will be tears and moping, just like everyone else the day of the incident.
And in a weird way, I feel tremendously guilty about this. I’m not supposed to be hit with adrenaline and start thinking of solutions when someone dies or gets cancer. I’m not supposed to think, Okay, it’s go time. Let’s do this. I’m supposed to mourn. This is the time for all the dramatics I seem to waste on stupid things like essays and airplanes. But no, that’s not the way my brain works. It’s never that I don’t care–I do tremendously– I’m just not showing it yet. Just give me some time. But for right now, could you use a cup of tea?
I’m sorry this is so scatterbrained tonight. We just learned that my maternal grandmother has bone cancer, and I’ve been busy collecting pictures of baby meerkats to show my mother and looking up trains to Florida.
I thought you all could do with some baby meerkat cuteness, too.
Aren’t their little, pink mouthes adorable. It makes me think of how Maxwell Perkins and his siblings looked as kittens when they had just been discovered by my cousin, abandoned in a hail storm in a boat by their feral mother. (I should tell the Max story at some point. It’s quite good. It involves benevolent pittbulls and bunk-beds.)
And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.