Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why I care about the Chilean miners

I was stuck in a plane once for over THREE hours on the runway, hot and annoyed and sick of pretzels and peanuts.

So I can’t really imagine I’d do very well stuck in a CAVE the size of a New York City apartment with 32 other people for 69 days. I’d crack.

I know for a fact that I’d be a textbook psychology case, switching between being sad, weepy and hopeless, to fuming mad, with probably a few panic attack/hallucinations thrown in the mix.

This would be especially true for the first 17 days, when the miners DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IF ANYONE WAS LOOKING FOR THEM. Seriously, how do you talk someone through that???

“I’M GONNA DIE! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!"
“It’s gonna be OK, here have an ounce of water.”

I’m sure I’d work myself up into daily tantrums, especially if we had to split a teeeeeny tiny portion of food.

“HOW COME MANUEL GETS MORE TUNA FISH THAN EVERYONE ELSE?” I’d snarl. (Just kidding. I don’t eat tuna fish. That’s cat food. You know, now that I think about it, I’d probably die from starvation.)

My inability to handle being trapped in a mine is a reason why I’ve been so curious about these miners, and why I've been reading online articles ad naseum about what they had to go through to survive.

Did they fight with each other? Did anyone crack up, and need to be pinned down so he wouldn’t eat another miner’s leg?

These are questions I’m hoping journalists will ask.

I liked that two brothers were down there, because if I’m ever stuck in a mine, I’d like it to be with my brother and twin sister. And I don’t think I’d even want to gnaw their legs off. Maybe.

During a family vacation in Nevada when I was 10 or 11, our family toured a cave at The Hoover Dam (odd) and I remember they turned the lights out in the cave so we could see how dark it was. For like four seconds. It was super scary.

“Someone in this dark an area would go blind in a day,” the guide said. A deer had somehow gotten stuck in the cave and was eventually found and had gone blind, he said. I believed him.

So, thinking about being in darkness like that ALL DAY EVERY DAY makes me itchy and anxious. I know they had headlamps, but they probably didn’t have enough juice to keep it on all the time, right? So they’d have to sit in the dark a lot?

Did they even know what time it was or what day it was? Were there ANIMALS down there like lizards and bats…and deer?

I used to go camping pretty frequently so I have a bit of a grasp on primitive things like no indoor plumbing and no internet access. And that gets annoying after 5 days. I don’t believe I’d do very well using a trench.

Do you think they smelled bad when they came up to the surface???
Were they able to brush their teeth? How long can you go without brushing your teeth??

I want to know how the head/leader guy, the one who talked everyone through the whole ordeal, managed to stay so freaking level-headed. How did he do it? How did they all do it?

Because I’d like to learn. Sometimes I feel like I’m on the brink in rush hour traffic. I’m certainly not a candidate for any job where getting trapped indefinitely would be a possibility.

If I’m hungry and tired at the same time, I cry.
I hate when my hands are dirty.
I'm kind of spastic.
Also, I get sucked into emotional roller coasters and my head would likely explode with so many feelings happening at once.

Here's a predicted rundown of my range of emotions if I was stuck in a mining cave for 69 days:

1.) Sad and scared. WE’RE GOING TO DIE! I STILL HAVEN’T SEEN A WHALE IN THE WILD OR BEEN TO AUSTRALIA! I'LL NEVER KISS MY BOYFRIEND AGAIN!!! WHY ME??? WHHHYYY ME????

2.) Angry and mad. HOW THE HELL DID THIS HAPPEN? WHY ARE CONDITIONS SO UNSAFE??? WHY COULDN'T I HAVE TAKEN A SICK DAY TODAY???

3.) Happy and hopeful. WE’VE MADE CONTACT! WE’VE MADE CONTACT! HI MOM!!!! WE COULD GET OUT OF THIS!!! IT WAS WORTH ALL THE WAITING!!

4.) Demanding and bratty. SEND ME DOWN A MEXICAN PIZZA!!! AND KRAFT MAC AND CHEESE!

5.) Annoyed and irritated. WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG? I THOUGHT Y'ALL HAD CALLED NASA?? GET ON THIS PEOPLE!!!

6.) Excited and narcissistic. PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE WATCHING?? IM GONNA LAND A BOOK DEAL!!! I’M GONNA GO TO HOLLYWOOD!!!

7.) Sad and scared (again). I HAVE TO FIT IN A CAPSULE WHAT SIZED? AND IT COULD GET STUCK ON THE WAY OUT OF THE CAVE AND THEN I’D BE ALL ALONE?? WHERE WOULD MY TRENCH BE???

8.) Reverent. DEAR GOD PLEASE LET ME SURVIVE THE FIFTEEN MINUTE RIDE IN THE CAPSULE. PLEASE LET ME GET OUT OF THIS CAVE ALIVE. PLEASE GOD PLEASE GOD PLEASE GOD PLEASE GOD (Pretty sure I’d chant this the whole way up.)

9.) Surreal. I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING! LOOK AT EVERYONE'S FACES I FORGOT WHAT IT WAS LKE TO HUG SOMEONE! AND I GET TO MEET THE PRESIDENT!!! I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS SAD AND SCARED AND NOW EVERYTHING IS FINE!!!

10.) Demanding and bratty (again). EXCUSE ME BUT I BELIEVE I REQUESTED A MEXICAN PIZZA A MONTH AGO.

AND DON’T SMELL MY ARMPITS.

-Jenny

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