There’s always two ways to consider something. I’d be willing to bet that there’s usually even more than that.
My husband, Bernd, and I have two different basic modes of operation. His is mainly to panic. Mine is to mainly remain calm. It’s not that I’m more enlightened than he is. It just that I don’t like how I feel when I panic, so I try not to. Mostly, I am successful. Thankfully.
Two nights ago, the power went out around 12:45 a.m. I know this because the battery back-up/surge suppressor for our computer started beeping non-stop and it woke me up.
I got up and shut down the computer. After that, the battery back-up stopped beeping continuously and began beeping twice and then pausing, beeping twice and then pausing. Eventually, it ran out of power and stopped doing that. It was much more peaceful after that.
Bernd sleeps with ear plugs in his ears, so he never heard it. When he woke up around 2:30 to feed the cat, I let him know that the power was out and that I had already shut down the computer. Then I went back to sleep.
I’d had some worry about all the stuff in the fridge and it going bad and how hard it is to find animal protein right now. But I decided that whatever happened, we’d deal with it. We’d eat eggs, or rice and beans. Whatever.
Bernd had a different response that kept him awake for several hours. He panicked.
He spent time on his phone trying to figure out what was going on. APS (Arizona Public Service) said that there was an equipment failure and that power would be restored on May 6. If needed, they would reimburse customers for 20 pounds of dry ice or 40 pounds of regular ice. So he panicked even more.
He didn’t know the current date. And in the middle of the night, I guess it sounded like the restoration of service was days away. To make matters worse, his phone seemed to be using an inordinate amount of battery power and dropped below 5% in no time at all. It freaked him out. Luckily, we have some night lights that also serve as a battery back-up for our cell phones. He hooked both our phones up. We live in an area that gets huge thunderstorms in the summer and we can rely on the power going out occasionally so it helps to be prepared.
When we got up he said to me that they said power would be restored on 5/6. So I told him that today was the sixth. And in any case, the power came back on a little after 5:00 a.m. I heard the battery back-up and microwave beep. And also there was the flashing display on my bedside clock. When we got up about an hour later and he told me about his middle of the night escapades, I said to him, “I guess my response was ‘We’ll deal with it’ and yours was ‘Oh my God! What are we going to do?!'”
Bernd was worried about the meat we have in the freezer and the coming shortage of meat. He was worried about the loss of the cost of all the food in the fridge. He was worried in general. He can find more things to worry about in a day than I can in an entire month. I wish, for his sake, that it weren’t so. I don’t know how to change it really.
I think that part of his problem is that his memory for events is not very precise. I know that in the past, we’ve weathered all sorts of difficult situations. We’ve always managed to find a way through whatever adversity we have faced. I’m guessing he doesn’t have this reassuring outlook.
I often remind him of our capacity to overcome adversity, but he either forgets or his tendency to panic is so well-seated that it will always be his first response no matter what I might say.
I don’t know where I come by my aplomb. Maybe I owe it to my dad and his preparedness in all things. His calmly rational manner of looking at a situation. Or maybe I owe it to my mom and her organizational skills and ability to accomplish just about anything she set her mind to. Probably, I owe it to the both of them.
It might seem like there’s not a lot to be thankful for right now. But when I start breaking it down into small, easily digestible bits, I find there are many things for which I am grateful. This is just one of them. So thank you, Mom and Dad, for the grace and ease you have taught me. I only wish Bernd’s parents had done the same.