Surviving Natural Disasters 101
I’m feeling sorry for East Coast people this week. First an earthquake, and now a hurricane. What’s next – a plague of locusts? Fire and brimstone? Sandwiches smeared with Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise? HAVEN’T THEY SUFFERED ENOUGH??
And I know a lot of people from the West Coast are smirking over their cute little quake. I figure, if the city of Portland shuts down at the first sign of snow flurries, we should be a little more understanding. It’s all about perspective, after all. Sure, a 5.8 out here might barely cause a raised eyebrow, but if you’re not used to the ground shaking beneath your feet that’s a pretty scary sensation. Check out Catherine’s post on surviving these natural disasters if you’d like a good laugh. Turns out she has no idea what to do when Mother Nature flips out.
I’m sort of a pro at weathering natural disasters. I’ve survived earthquakes, blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes and even once dealt with a brief but wicked dust devil. My best advice to those looking for survival tips is simple.
There ain’t a damn thing you can do about it.
I mean, there are obvious proactive steps you can take to maximize your safety. Board up your windows before a hurricane. Head to a tornado shelter when a funnel cloud approaches. Don’t step in hot lava if you’re in the vicinity of an erupting volcano. But otherwise, your fate is pretty much out of your control. Take earthquakes, for example. They tell you to take cover beneath a table when the ground starts shaking, but if the roof collapses, all that will do is flatten you more evenly. The simple truth is, if your time’s up – your time is up! So Catherine’s hurricane prep, which involves wine and ice cream, seems just about perfect to me.
Best of luck to my friends and family who will be riding out Irene.
A Wake-Up Call
My last post, in which I mentioned my borderline OCD tendencies, was a bit of a wakeup call. I realized that maybe I should loosen up the obsessive reigns just a tad. The first thing to go? I ditched my weekly grocery trip.
I’ve always been a very organized person by nature. A planner. For years – as long as I can remember, actually – I would plan out meals a week in advance and buy the appropriate groceries accordingly. I figured this would save me money in the long run, and I wouldn’t have to deal with the daily hassle of “what-should-I-make-for-dinner-tonight?!” It’s a good system in theory, but not really practical. For one thing, how can I possibly know that six days from now I’ll be in the mood for chicken fajitas? Maybe I’ll have had a rough day at work or end up having chicken fajitas for lunch that day or feel too lazy and tired to chop and dice and saute. But because I’ve stocked up on all the ingredients for chicken fajitas, I pretty much have to make them. Deviate from the menu, and you end up with spoiled cilantro or chicken that you end up tossing because it’s been in the fridge too long. Another problem is leftovers. I am notoriously terrible at eating them, and I end up with a lot of them – especially on the weeks where the kids are gone and it’s just me, because it’s tough to cook for one. I couldn’t eat them because I had another meal all lined up in the queue, so inevitably the leftovers would sit in the refrigerator for a few days (only because I’m an optimist) before ending up in the garbage. Waste of food, waste of money. Clearly, this is no way to live your life.
So effective immediately, I am abolishing my weekly dinner menu. Already, I feel like a burden has been lifted! I didn’t have to sit down and figure out dinners for the next seven days, and I skipped the weekly Friday trip to the grocery store. God, I feel like such a rebel! I have no idea what I’m having for dinner on Sunday or next Wednesday or on September 2nd – and it doesn’t bother me a bit! I am carefree and breaking the rules, damn the consequences. So this is what it’s like to be James Dean. I can dig it, cats.
I was telling a friend today how much I have changed lately. Though I remain unemployed, this has been an amazing year that, ironically, has only been possible because I’m unencumbered by a job. Between a solo road trip that has changed my life and self-publishing my novel and discovering surprising truths about friendship, this is actually turning into one of the best years of my life. I am acting impulsively and doing things that make me happy. It’s as though I have shaken myself out of a stupor I had been in and am just now beginning to embrace life. Screw living for others – I’m in it for me, and I am bound and determined to do whatever it takes to find happiness.
Watch out, world.
- Jaded West Coast chuckles over East Coast quake (seattletimes.nwsource.com)