Much to the disappointment, I suspect, of some of the human factors researchers tracking our mission, our crew has gotten along astonishingly well. I put this down in part to luck, but also in part to some common values, including the stereotypical Canadian ‘niceness’, which a lot of Americans (at least, the ones on our crew) obviously share. Matt is our poster boy for this trait: he’d make you breakfast in bed, then apologize for undermining your diet.
Even with all this harmony, however, sometimes a girl just gets up on the wrong side of the bunk. I had already snarked at both James and Ryan today for no good reason, when an issue came up that actually causes me some real stress: how to make sure that we get all the data we need before we leave (there’ll be no popping back for one more sample once we’re gone). Problem was, I was too irritable to deal with it in an even-tempered, rational way. So, what to do?
One of the human factors studies is looking at coping strategies, which seem to fall into a few broad categories: actively working towards a solution; seeking advice and support; emoting; denial; booze and/or prayer; and so on. Here, many of our habitual strategies just aren’t available: no pets to cuddle or oceans to swim in, for example. In this case, I just wanted to go somewhere else, and do something else for a while – but there’s nowhere else to go, nothing else to do. So, instead, I stopped working, went to my bunk, put in my earplugs, and played stupid computer games for a couple of hours. As coping strategies go, it may not be the healthiest, but when I came out I was able to discuss the EVA schedule without biting anyone’s head off. Mission accomplished.