Monday, May 14, 2012


We all have them.  We expect certain things in certain situations.  Some are required by law, such as expecting people to stop at stop signs, while others are by common courtesy, like holding a door open for the person behind you.  Sometimes it is more hopeful, such as expecting chocolate, especially the good stuff, for Valentine’s Day, or the routine expectation of my paycheck automatically depositing into my checking account every month.  Nevertheless, we live in a world of constant expectations in our normal day to day activities.  But what happens when the day is not so normal?

What got me thinking about this was a recent conversation with my sister.  While on the phone with her, her two small-pony-sized dogs started barking.  Probably at someone with the audacity of walking past her house.  At any rate, these two can create quite the racket, which makes it nearly impossible for someone to hear on the other end of the telephone.  Being a devout Cesar Millan devote’, I handle those situations by excusing myself from the conversation, shishing my dogs, along with a stern stare and upright body posture, until they stop, which is surprisingly (always for me, anyway) pretty quick.  My sister, on the other hand, simply started talking to her two housemates.  “Boys, boys, keep quiet, please.  No, I said be quiet.  Be quiet, please.”  To no one’s surprise, except, apparently, my sister, the dogs continued to bark and tell that nasty trespasser to get away from the house until he was out of sight.  Patiently, I waited on the other end until all the ruckus and polite pleading ended and my sister continued the conversation as if nothing had happened.

Did she really think that: 1) The dogs knew English and 2) Saying “please” would matter? I am quite certain that she could have “sworn like a sailor” (a saying my great Aunt would say, although there is absolutely no proof that sailors swear, nor do so remarkably...), or spoken Chinese and the dogs would have responded the same way.  They did what they wanted to do, which was to bark until they were done barking.
So, what should we expect in times of crisis?  Do we expect an orderly response, or raging chaos?  Do we expect that leaders among us will step up and take charge and organize us to do what needs to be done?  It’s hard to tell when daily life continues to plod on and the big challenges, like giant earthquakes, floods, fires, or terrorists are just threats listed in planning documents.  But we do have expectations.  Will what we expect really happen?

This is the crux of all preparedness stuff that we do.  We plan and prepare so that what we experience will align with our expectations when something really goes south.  At least that is what I hope all my work is for.  Expecting the worse, planning for it, then expecting that the crisis is something you can get through.

And maybe I will bounce this idea off my dog.  Politely, of course.  With luck, maybe he will have a pearl of wisdom to share.  That’s my expectation, anyway.

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