It was a little after midnight when my phone made a noise and while a cell phone making noise isn’t anything new, this noise was. My cell phone makes a special noise when there is a “situation” and I get paid to deal with “situations” so that in itself isn’t that uncommon either. What is a “situation” you ask, in simple terms it’s a problem that needs to be solved, however it’s typically high profile and high impact. I’ve been solving these problems around the world for well over a decade now and when you do that you come to find things happen in cycles and this time was not in one of those typical cycles.
So when you hear something like this off cycle you get a bit of a knot in your stomach as it’s a kin to having a loved one in the hospital and things aren’t well then the phone rings at 3am. Well you just know it isn’t going to be good news and it was with this feeling I rolled over out of my slumber to pick up the phone from the night stand next to the bed in the hotel room and while rubbing the sleep out of my eyes entered the security code to unlock the phone. Once unlocked, the message read “Situation: 8.9 Earth Quake in Japan causing widespread disruption.” and those who may not know, the Richter scale stops at 10, so it was clear to even my still sleepy mind this was a big one.
While scrolling down, it became clear from a personal perspective my business exposure was limited which was both a good and bad thing. As since the business exposure for myself was low it meant I was spared from jumping to it, hopping a plane to the other side of the world or the like. However on the other side it meant all one could do is think about the devastation which will come with the loss of life. The family members left to wonder for weeks or even months about missing friends or relatives only to face the hard realization of their loss, making the pain just that much worse.
Also pictures of the aftermath from the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean came to mind as it was not even barely a week old when I showed up in Chennai (Madras) India and saw the aftermath of 3 feet of mud filling the streets nearly a mile inland from the shore. In fact, I was also suppose to pass through Sri Lanka however the airport was too badly damaged and therefore had to be rerouted back westward. In short this wall of water had simply washed man and his work away in minutes leaving in its wake debris and death as even as I was there looking at the remains of the aftermath, efforts where still going on to collect the dead from the muddy silt.
My mind jumped forward to the views of Japan as I’ve been in country there several times and Tokyo is an amazing city on par with New York however even more busy and crowded if you can believe that. Again the global implications of this where also not lost as I am all too familiar with Tuesday, January 17, 1995 as I stood there and watched the aftermath of the Kobe earthquake which cost me real money as I was long on Nikkei calls and the market of coursed tanked. However that was one time, I was numb to the loss of money, as I stood there and watched the television it was clear I was one of the lucky ones. For me it was only money, for others it was something they could not replace or earn back over time, they lost their lifes…