18 Mar 2020 – 23:03 GMT – 3°C Mostly Cloudy – Co. Dublin, Ireland
Here in Ireland, schools are closed. So people are out walking with their kids. I was walking on the beach earlier and I noted a few personal distancing issues. People on mobiles seem less able to maintain the social gap. Self importance still prevails. And the gap requested may not be big enough. Shampoo, deodorant and perfume wafted over me. I guess I’m already personal space sensitised. I noted proximity because today was cold and my ear lobes could still detect the body heat of people passing at more than one and a half metres.
I have had a cold the last few days. I looked at my FitBit today and was surprised to see the resting BPM tracked when I was feeling low and when I thought I was getting over it. In fact the daily BPM was rising for a few days before I noticed.
Moving to a new topic. I’m sensitive to the heat on my ear lobes following an occupational training exercise.
I spent my career being appraised of the dangers in industry and in 1993, my career in geophysics took me onto ocean going research vessels. And that required a lot of certification. Things like man-over-board recovery training. Spotting and reporting unsafe acts. And I didn’t do so well in the crashed helicopter simulation. A scuba diver tapped me on the shoulder to let me know I was fighting against my flotation device. All my experience in boats in the Irish Sea had involved the sun and the moon being above the water. In Aberdeen, I learned that things could be different. The swimming pool had floor lights so when a fellow trainee elbowed me in the nose while impatiently escaping the over-turned and submerged helicopter simulator, I got sinus-full-of-bubbling-water confused. And condemned to die on the surface of the water. They said I wouldn’t have drowned. The flotation harness would have flipped me onto my back once I was unconscious and not fighting it. And then, they said, if it happened in the North Sea, I’d have most likely died of hypothermia with a very small chance I might have been rescued. But if dead, the beacons and colour of the flotation device would still have benefit. My body would have been recovered and the family given the closure that comes of a funeral. They said.
That same day I was walked though a 20 foot smoke filled container with a fire still burning inside. I was told to use my ear lobes to orient myself with respect to the fire and that I’d be able to use a hand to stay in touch with a wall. It worked. The fire was invisible to my left. And I’ve done burning building evacuation training and drills many times. The lobes always work.