Thursday, March 1, 2012
Retrospective on the Japanese Earthquake of 2011 and One Reason Why She is Wired to Test You Occasionally
I recall the day of the earthquake in Japan pretty vividly. My wife and I and our two little ones were spending some vacation time in a little motel on the southern Oregon coast right up against the shore. That night I recall reading on the web that there had been a massive earthquake in Japan and later, that the initial estimate of the magnitude of that earthquake had been upgraded to 9.0.
My wife had just given birth to our youngest a few months earlier, and we were still in the grey months of the year in the Pacific Northwest, so her morale was pretty low. Note to the wise: if you can, try to arrange it so that your wife can deliver her babies in the late Spring to early Summer, it seems to mitigate the baby blues quite a bit, especially if you live in a place with dark, rainy winters like Oregon.
Around 2 or 3 in the morning, a siren starting going off for a tsunami warning. Apparently they travel across the Pacific pretty quickly. My wife was really shaken, pulled out of REM sleep by sirens and loudspeakers. In the parlance of wargames, we'd say that she'd failed a morale check and was shaken. Therefore it was to me to gather up the little ones and our things and give her specific and simple commands as we executed a speedy evacuation from the waterfront. One recommendation if you find yourself in such a situation: give simple and specific orders to the shaken, you need to micromanage them quite a bit more when their morale is in that state. As it was, we got downstairs with the little ones and packed into the minivan with everything I'd be terribly upset about losing in record time. One other note: little babies and toddlers can tell when one of their adults is shaken, and they tend to get really pliable---their instincts are pretty good. A mile or two away from the scene and the constant sirens and my wife's morale returned to normal, and she was a bit embarassed about the matter.
So what does this have to do with her 'testing' you occasionally---referred to as 'shit tests' or 'fitness tests' in parts of this sphere? What her hindbrain is looking for is assurance that, should the shit hit the fan, you will be able to exercise what we'll call emergency command authority. Lots of women have been put to far scarier circumstances than this (as it turned out, the promised tidal wave never manifested at our motel room, although some did hit further south and caused significant damage), and her gut, if not her intellect, still understands such things. She needs to be able to rely on you to keep your head when hers is temporarily impaired.