Under Pressure

Sing along, everybody!

Mm ba ba de
Um bum ba de
Um bu bu bum da de

There’s a reason why couples who meet during traumatic situations stay together. Those scenarios are proving grounds, and it goes for our more platonic relationships as well.

We could expedite a lot of process if we were willing to put our relationships in the fire a little sooner.  Instead, we slap rings on fingers before we’ve even seen these people in conflict. A friend of mine just did it; he’s engaged to a woman he’s dated for two months.  The most intense situation they’ve shared is that she’s not a Game of Thrones fan. They have zero chance.

Conversely, when you hear that two scientists who were trapped at the bottom of a volcano together ended up married, you can feel a bit more confident. They’ve seen one another in the worst possible scenario.

These people are not going to have the same fights as regular folks, because you know what there isn’t a lot of on laundry day?


Unless you say it in Spanish, but I digress. 

Once you’ve watched one another almost burn, once you’ve basically resigned yourself to being buried beneath cubic tons of obsidian, once you’ve inhaled sulphur, swallowed smoke, and all but given up hope together, going nuclear over where to go for dinner can seem a bit childish.

How you handle yourself under pressure matters, arguably more than any of the other criteria, and pressure situations allow you to see how both you, and other people, react.

One of my best friends and I solidified our friendship on a three week trip through Central America.  Our rental car had disappeared while we were at the top of a mountain in Guatemala, and after attempting to find it for an hour or so, Brian’s solution was to just go get beers.

No stress. No drama. 

If you don’t freak out over a stolen car, you’re never going to lose it over the trivial. We found the car the next morning in an impound lot, split the bill, and continued on down to Lake Atitlan. He’s since been all over the world with me.

And recently I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that another of my close friends wasn’t who I thought he was under pressure. He survived of course, but only because he grabbed his own backpack and leapt from the emergency exit while babies were still on fire in the aisles.

I still love him, but I’ve had to place him in a different compartment. He’s just not a guy you call with a problem.

Composure is in short supply. A lot of people are reactionary, and you don’t want that. You want someone who meditates next to the lava flow.

It’s a good person to have in your corner, and it’s an even better person to be.



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