People who know me tend to agree that I am really, really good at one thing: Panicking.
I’ve not managed to prove the point very often, but there is a small occasional exception: When something actually worth panicking about happens. In those situations I can keep my head (and just have a delayed panic when it’s all over). Like that time I saw a crash between a bus and a car and was the only one who stopped to give the unconscious car driver and his hysterical wife first aid. I was fine until the emergency services turned up, then had a bit of a panic and caused a panic for a nearby fire fighter as I went to light a cigarette while surrounded by spilled petrol….
Yesterday another exception happened. I eat a lot of mint imperials (but I don’t smoke anymore, so it’s kind of ok, isn’t it?). Somehow while on a teleconference I managed to inhale one of the mints; it bypassed my entire mouth and lodged itself at the back of my throat. I actually said ‘uh-oh’ in my head. And then my thought processes did that thing where they went really fast:
- The Miserable Man who sits next to me hasn’t spoken to me since he realised I wasn’t someone with the powers to provide him a name plate-thingy for his desk. I really didn’t want to have to find out if he knew the Heimlich maneuver – I’d owe him way more than a name plate-thingy if we crossed that line.
- The people I actually like on the floor were all too far away to ask for help.
- But the mint wasn’t in my windpipe – it was stuck just before that point.
- I thought of breathing and yoga…
- …and I took a deep breath in through my nose and below out through….well, I’m not entirely sure, but I think it was a yoga breathy thing though. And it worked! – the mint flew out my mouth and across my keyboard. Miserable Man at the next desk didn’t look impressed.
I was though. I think I should name this mint freeing maneuver. Perhaps something catchy like ‘The Pog Mint Freeing Maneuver’. It’s a shame there aren’t any vowels there to create an acronym, but I guess you can’t have everything. And not having to experience the Heimlich maneuver is a pretty good thing to have.
But yes, for the record, about 5 seconds after this, I went all hot and shaky and panicky. But I did prove that I can keep my head when I really need to :o)