Grace Under Pressure

National Blog Posting Month – January 2014 – Pressure

Prompt – “Courage is grace under pressure” is a famous quotation by Ernest Hemingway. Tell us about a personal moment of your grace under pressure.


Heh. No doubt there have been other instances, but the first thing I thought of was this time when I was a graduate student.

It was late at night. I had a friend visiting. She was conked out on the couch. I was upstairs asleep.

Then suddenly, pound-pound-pound on the front door.

I tried to ignore it, but it came again. Bang-bang-bang.

I could tell that whomever was out there was intoxicated. He was calling for someone who was not in my apartment. He wasn’t going away.

In irritation, I flung the door open.

“What’s going on? What do you want?” I specifically tried not to curse.

He was startled and backed up a bit. “Oh, uh. My friend came this way. I thought she came in here.”

“No one’s been in here. We’re asleep. Go away.”

“Uh. Sorry.” He stumbled away.

I have paraphrased what was said. Geez, it’s getting on twenty years, so my memory of the incident isn’t nearly what it used to be. I do remember doing everything I could to be calm and in control (and to not swear) in order to get rid of the guy without any further incident. And it worked. Somehow it worked.

I shut and locked the door. My friend was stunned, impressed that I politely bawled the guy out and sent him packing in less than 30 seconds.

That was it. He was gone.

We went back to sleep. That was the end of it.

I do still reflect on that episode as one of those rare moments when I really felt like I had it together. I was in control. It was deeply satisfying.


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