No one who has met me for more than 5 seconds wold ever consider me a calming presence. If anything, I am the anti-calm. I discovered yesterday, however, that my constantly high energy level makes me less prone to panic. Exposing me to panic is a bit like throwing a glass of water into the ocean.
I recently had a big release at work. It's a fairly important system.
I was told, when I received the assignment, that 3 people had tried and either been fired or quit over this project. That sounded like a dare to me. But at least that may give you some idea about the kind of pressure that goes along with this project.
Since the release, some of us had been working very long hours. One person even wound up sleeping at the office to keep up with the work created by the changeover. Since the project is my baby, I had to work all day Saturday (St Patrick's Day). Those are just two examples. So, everyone was a little tense. I actually yelled at my manager, briefly, during a meeting the day before. But in spite of that, things had been chugging along smoothly right up until yesterday afternoon.
I had a dentist appointment just after lunch, so I hopped on my bike and rode hard to the dentist's office and made it just in time. It was my first visit to my new dentist and the hygienist wanted a blood pressure and heart rate reading. I explained that, on top of having ridden my bike very hard in very cold weather for the last 10 minutes, I was also under a lot of stress and hadn't slept very well in days. My initial blood pressure was something like 150 over 110, with a heart rate of 104. She decided that wasn't possible and let me calm down a bit more and took it again and got 126 over 68 but still a heart rate of 104. On the plus side, next time they do it I'll look really healthy.
Because it was my first appointment, it took almost 2 hours.
In that time, everything went from stressed to powderkeg. I was immediately dragged into a meeting where everyone was yelling, with the exception of the manager who I'd yelled at yesterday and me. It's a sad, sad day when I am the voice of reason.
Somehow, we got out of the meeting alive. I realized that I hadn't eaten anything since 7AM. I got my giant salad out of the fridge. I then set about calming everyone down. I wandered around the office and told everyone that everything was under control and that there was nothing to be afraid of, all the while munching on colossal forkfulls of lettuce.
Some would say the fact that I was there and willing to fix things is what calmed everyone. Others would swear that it was my willingness to tell people what was going that cooled things down. Still others would say that everyone sort of regained their own composure and my presence was just a coincidence. But I think it was the rhythmic, hypnotic chewing of lettuce.
I believe in the calming power of chewing.