It’s fair to say that I am as cool and collected as a cucumber in a crisis. Yes, indeedy. When that shit really goes down, a cucumber would almost be as useless as I would be.
Let’s put it this way: once my dear friend Mr M almost choked in a restaurant and while our other friends were administering the Heimlich manouver, I sat with my fingers and my ears saying “Make it stop! Make it stop!”.
Not my finest moment.
And then just recently, whilst on a five-day holiday with 27 of my relatives, I achieved another ‘Personal Best’ in crisis management.
Now, some people might think that just staying in a house with 27 relatives would be a crisis in itself. But let me say for the record: it was as happy and harmonious a situation as it could possibly be and that I love my family, every single one. Fact.
Still, it wasn’t without its dramas.
On the night of Christmas Eve, my uncle “Don” (not his real name) had a dizzy spell. On paper, it was the kind of dizzy spell that anyone might have had if they’d taken ibuprofen to relieve a fever on an empty stomach and then taken a hot shower. Unfortunately for him, however, this resulted in him throwing up spectacularly in the bathroom and then, while trying to make it back to his bedroom, losing his towel and falling down naked in a public corridor, taking care to bounce his head off several walls on his way down.
My sister Belle was approaching him from the other end of the corridor as he fell. I was closely behind her.
Belle said “Stop!” which was pretty helpful advice to someone mid-fall, but no where near as helpful as my actions, which involved flapping my arms and running around like a headless chicken, squealing “Kwikathsonfallindownill!”.
Which was supposed to be a call to my aunt (and Don’s wife) “Karen” (again, not her real name) along the lines of:
“Quick! Karen! Don has fallen down ill!”
But which other people heard as:
“Quick! Alison has fallen down a hill!”
And since we actually had a baby “Alison” in the house (not her real name), this caused these other people some alarm – even though it must be said we were situated about 25 kilometres from the nearest hill at the time.
In the end, Belle’s ‘Man in Uniform’ (not his real – aw, let’s just forget about it) saved the day. You see, he has had Proper Training in crisis-management and apparently learning to run around and squeal and/or stick your fingers in your ears wasn’t part of it. Which is kind of surprising because it comes so naturally to some people (i.e. me).
The Man In Uniform calmly (and without squealing) assessed my uncle Don and accompanied him and Aunt Karen to the local A&E Department where Don was told he was completely fine but shouldn’t drink for 24 hours. Which, for an Eastern European on Christmas Eve, was like David Beckham getting a red card just before kick-off at the World Cup Final.
Luckily, the rest of us felt his pain and were more than willing to drink just that little bit more – partly to pick up the slack, but mostly because we were so damned relieved he was okay. And in my case, to forget what a complete and utter cucumber I was in a crisis.
Such a cucumber.
This post is dedicated to my uncle who I have always loved and cherished – but never more so than when I was being a cucumber on his behalf. Love your work, Mr Harmony Man!