The results envelopes
At the beginning of the journey, Mike and I decided to test our relationship scientifically (as well as the inevitable test of 8 months on the road). We underwent three tests:
1. A brainscan at NYU to assess neurological activity in various parts of the brain. The basic idea is that 3 areas of the brain are responsible for “love”, and when I was shown pictures of Mike (and vice versa) that inspired activity in those centres, the scientists would analyse it to be able to tell us how we feel about each other.
2. A DNA test. The basic principle of this test is that pheromones play an important role in our choice of partner: we subconsciously try and choose a partner with an immune system as different as possible from our own, in order that our children might have the greatest resistance to disease.
3. Psychology. We spent an entire day doing various tests with a Gottman-certified therapist (Gottman is world-reknowned for his work at analysing relationships, and with one particular test, being able to predict with 94% certainty the likelihood of a couple staying together)
We put the results of these three tests into an envelope to be opened at the end of our journey. If the results are positive, the plan was to renew our vows. If the results our negative, we are considering divorce…
And today’s the day.
The Big Day dawns bright. We’re ready.
We have found a beautiful old boat, the Barracuda, with an English-speaking Ushuaian captain, Danilo, who is empowered to renew our vows if the envelopes come out with a positive answer. He will be the one to open the three envelopes and read the results.
A local TV station wants to video the entire event and interview us. So we had a presenter and cameraman organised too.
Mike had organised for a local divorce lawyer, Oscar Vidal, to be present at the opening, so that he could be ready to initiate divorce proceedings if the results came out positive.
We bought a ring. I bought a plastic top hat and $5 veil and some heart-shaped balloons in case things went our way.
I got increasingly nervous as the hour approached. I’ve been very blase’ about the envelope, blithely assuming that it would be positive – and if not, well, hell, it was ignorable, wasn’t it? Mike has been more concerned throughout. He often talked about the Pandora’s Box factor – if something bad came out, how would we be able to forget about it? That said, even he was less concerned as we got further south – saying that he was so sure, so totally positive, that we are a great couple, that it doesn’t matter.
We arrive at the boat on the bike. Suits on, everyone ready. And we get underway.
We’re in the back room of the boat, its panoramic windows open out on the city of Ushuaia. The captain, in full regalia, readies himself. We start with an interview for the local TV crew – how are you feeling? are you nervous? – the usual made-for-tv stuff. Then we stand sombrely in front of the captain as he works his way through the three envelopes, with us reacting to each answer.
After much discussion, Mike and I have decided not to publish the results of the tests. We’d like to
be able to tell you in person at our return party on March 13th in London. For those of you who won’t be there, I promise I’ll put them up here on March 14th, complete with pictures of the event – and our brains!
I can tell you though that they were totally fascinating. Again, more details to follow.