Which personality type best describes you?
Are you one of those highly driven, goal-oriented, tightly focused (and, some would say, tightly wound), ambitious, controlling, competitive Type A’s? Or are you a more laid back, patient, “live-and-let-live” Type B? You probably already have figured out for yourself or been told which category you fit into; the “Type A/Type B” comparison has been a part of our culture’s common lexicon for over a half century and most adults, if asked, know or think they know which best describes them. As police officers (or the partner, family, friend, or fan of one), into which category would you place most of your colleagues (or the cops you know)? If you don’t know, or aren’t sure, think about it as you read this; there’s a reason we ask, and possible implications for your physical and emotional well-being.
Thoughts from the Hana Highway
The convergence of some surprising good fortune that gave me a vacation over the New Year’s holiday, a huge pile of accumulated UAL flight miles, and Althea’s facility for always finding the best time share trades available recently allowed us to escape Illinois for the island of Maui. Travel for us is a hobby and favorite pastime – as some folks might collect stamps we collect places and adventures – and a really pretty convenient one as well, as we both can enjoy a fair amount of time off and flexibility in our work and raise pets rather than kids (and yes, we know, what about the “joy of children” and all that? Maybe, but not one of our animals has ever demanded the latest fashion, totaled a car, or whined about wanting to go to college because they want to get a good job or some such…).
This was the first time to Hawaii for either of us, and whenever we hit a new destination taking in as much of the local sights and flavor as we can is a top priority and one of our favorite activities are organized tours. Setting off on our own can be fun - and certainly cheaper - but we like learning and soaking in as much about the places we visit as possible, so we’re generally glad to bolster the local economy by paying experts to do the driving and share their knowledge. That’s why, a few days into our trip, we found ourselves in a small van, on the Road to Hana, driven by a gentleman and longtime local font of information named Tim Hughes. Besides, we had heard horror stories of and from couples who had tried to make the trip on their own only to turn back in frustration, or undergo relational stress of a magnitude to ruin the rest of their vacation (some had even taken to euphemistically calling the Hana Highway “The Road to Divorce”). No thanks!
Whenever we go on a tour, we always try to place ourselves as close to the guides as we can to optimally pester them with questions (Hey, we tip well so they gotta earn it!). On this tour we landed directly behind Tim as he drove and immediately took advantage of the chance to chat and, during a quick breakfast stop about 40 minutes into the trip, Tim said, “Mike, if you don’t mind me asking, what do you do for a living?” I explained I am a cop, and also that together Althea and I do training and writing.
“I thought you might be a police officer. You have that look… that presence,” he said, “that’s why I asked. I get a lot of cops that go on my tours and you tend to carry yourselves a certain way.” This is not that first time I’ve heard that or been made as a cop (even in total vacation-chillaxation mode). Tim went on to ask if I have trouble relaxing or turning off on-duty instincts, explaining that a lot of the cops he meets seem intense or constantly vigilant and talk about “always feeling on” or being unable to let go of on-duty wariness.
“No,” I said, “I’m maybe more alert to my surroundings than most people but I’m pretty good at relaxing and making the most of my vacation time. But I know exactly what you mean.”