Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Be Preparednessful!


So we're next in line for the big earthquake, and I am led to understand that I should be acquiring preparedness, or having preparedness thrust upon me. I don't like it. It can't even be a real word. What was wrong with "readiness?" When I look at my monthly bills, am I supposed to aspire to paidness?

I can't bring myself to think about any of it until I check the Oxford English Dictionary--the one with every word and its earliest usage in it, and which comes with a magnifying glass--and see when this travesty of a word was visited upon us. And it turns out it was in 1590. Well, no offense to the OED people, but there's a lot of evidence that those early English speakers were drunk. Spelling like toddlers. Capitalizing random shit as though they have to wake themselves up every few Words just to make it to the End of the Sentence. And then by 1654 we have: "...he gave the Executioner the token of his preparedness, whereat the Headsman severed his head from his body." Maybe it's just me, but I do not consider this any endorsement of preparedness. Whatever: the OED can't be all that proud of the word, or they'd use bigger print.

Anyway, preparedness is one of those things you know you should get around to having, but that it could probably wait. Our neighbor Gayle thought it was so important she had a gathering at her house so some folks could come from the Red Cross and get us up to speed. Here, we don't worry much about floods, or hurricanes, or tornadoes, or wildfires. House fires are a concern, but my smoke alarms scare me worse than fire does. What we're really supposed to worry about is the big 9.0. The titanic earthquake that is already 14 years overdue.

So one of the things you need to do is prepare a portable emergency preparedness kit. You're going to want first aid supplies, a flashlight, cash, toothbrush, can opener, duct tape, blanket, tweezers, toilet paper, wrench, 50 feet of rope, garden hose, emergency speculum, medical team, a coach-and-six, and five hundred gallons of water. Handy.

And with all that, I don't know that you can truly be prepared for a 9.0 earthquake. Sure, you can have a cache of stuff. But no one is going to go through one of these events and think: hey, I was so ready for this. Because that's the whole point of huge earthquakes--that's what gives them so much jazz. You're never going to be ready just that second.  You're never going to admire your kit and say, "okay, now." The one we're due for isn't going to bobble you around. It's going to flip you right out of bed and plate you up with hashbrowns. I've looked it up on the soil map: the ground on our particular block will turn into pudding. I can't pretend I'll be calm. I was once sorting mail, and the wheeled dolly that was stationed to my left started to spontaneously roll away. I thought I was moving. I almost threw up on my postal black shoes.

There's more to the kit. You're supposed to have a bucket, trash bags, bleach, and two boards to construct a makeshift toilet. I don't know what the boards are for. I do know that after a 9.0 earthquake, I won't be needing a toilet for a while. You're also supposed to keep sturdy shoes, a flashlight, and an extra pair of eyeglasses in a bag attached to your headboard.

Here's how I prepare. I don't worry much, and I have the emotional flexibility to be able to take whatever comes. That's the kind of preparedness that has worked for my whole life, and will continue to work for me right up until that 9.0, at which point I will have plenty of time to ponder it all while I'm under the rubble wearing only my Skechers and a pair of unfashionable glasses. And I will think: Gayle's right next door. And she has one hell of a kit.

42 comments:

  1. Fortunately, we don't get a lot of earthquakes here on the east coast. A few years ago, we had a fairly mild one at the very same moment that I had laid down on the chaise on the deck for a nap. It felt like I was the one who was vibrating from deep within my body and everything else was normal. I thought I was maybe having a heart attack. Then I stood up and realized that no, the entire deck was moving. No matter how big a heart attack, I doubt that it would accomplish that feat. It was an interesting sensation, but I wouldn't want to go through anything bigger.

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    1. We don't get what I'd call a LOT of earthquakes right here, either, which is the problem. Because that sucker is storing up a lot of tension.

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  2. Your hopefulness to restore the English language to its pre-1590-esque preparednesslessness is duly noted, but nowadays language evolves so rapidly that people who reject new words and expressions can expect to get pwned like a Portal cosplayer who believes the cake. A quake may or may not happen, but neologisms never stop coming -- so be prepared.

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    1. I do believe the cake. I do, I do, I do, I DO believe the cake.

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  3. I take my advice from the Boy Scouts who say, "Be repaired!" Or something like that.

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  4. How can you prepare for an earth quake? You can prepare for loss of water and loss of electricity and minor injuries, but hurricane hits, earth quakes and Ebola...not so much once it hits you. Just be resilient. Don't the Brits say Stay Calm and Carry On?

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    1. And if you can't be resilient, be squishy.

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  5. I'm sorry to note that your kit is missing a critical item: a bottle of hard liquor. For medicinal purposes. You could keep that taped to your headboard, too.

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    1. Duly noted. You know, that headboard thing...if I'm going to be ejected from my bed anyway, what if I can't find my way back to the headboard?

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    2. Well, there are always fur-lined handcuffs. That might generate a different sort of problem, but I guarantee it'll be more interesting. For the news reporters, if nobody else.

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    3. I like the way you think. You naughty girl.

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  6. Preparedness? Shudder.
    On rather a lot of levels...

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    1. I'm emotionally prepared. Actually, I'm kind of hoping it's the earthquake that'll take me out--as long as I have to go.

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  7. Around here, we don't get earthquakes, we get tornadoes. Just sit in the basement. But my biggest worry is the nuclear power plant just a few miles away. Each year they send out a "plan" of what we should do in case of a misadventure in nuclear power. I figure I am in the center of it all, so I will have to just bend over and kiss my a$$ goodbye. That bending over part may be a bit difficult though.

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    1. I know, right? They need to have a different plan for us old people. We'll have to bend over and kiss someone else's ass goodbye.

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    2. I'd be just as happy to go without my ass being kissed.

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  8. I'm from the Shaky Isles. Yes, FROM the Shaky Isles.I now take my chances with hurricanes and crazy motorists.(And baby quakes)

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    1. Please tell us more about the Shaky Isles.

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  9. I could never live on the west coast. I experienced a teeny tiny earthquake once, and that was enough. At least here in the midwest, when a tornado touches down, the damage may be severe, but it's quite localized. Our last one hopped along a 12-mile path, landing here and there to knock down some trees or blow the roof off a few buildings, but go a block away from the track and you'd never know there had been a storm. Even the monsters in Tornado Alley are half a mile wide at most--tough luck if you happen to be within that half mile, but it's not going to take out the tri-county area.

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    1. You have to be freaking kidding me. You are sanguine about TORNADOES? Those things that drive Plymouths into trees twelve feet up?

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  10. Still laughing about that emergency speculum.

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    1. You won't be laughing when you really, really need one.

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  11. That soil-turning-to-pudding thing would freak me out. Even worse than drowning - drowning in mud. Thanks for the nightmares I'm going to have tonight, here in my earthquake/tornado/floodi-free little part of the world!

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    1. and by floodi I mean flood, of course

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    2. Think of it as bobbling around in mud. Whee! That's how I was thinking about it, until YOU brought in the D-word.

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    3. Aren't mud baths supposed to be great for the skin?

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    4. I want to sashay into the hereafter with tight pores. I'll look way better than those poor flood victims.

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  12. "preparedness kit. You're going to want first aid supplies, a flashlight, cash, toothbrush, can opener, duct tape, blanket, tweezers, toilet paper, wrench, 50 feet of rope, garden hose, emergency speculum, medical team, a coach-and-six, and five hundred gallons of water. Handy.
    There's more to the kit. You're supposed to have a bucket, trash bags, bleach, and two boards to construct a makeshift toilet. I don't know what the boards are for. I do know that after a 9.0 earthquake, I won't be needing a toilet for a while. You're also supposed to keep sturdy shoes, a flashlight, and an extra pair of eyeglasses in a bag attached to your headboard.
    And a whole extra house right next door to stash all this gear in.
    (the boards are for placing either side of the hole you dig so you have something stable or reasonably stable to place your feet on while you squat and pee)

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    1. Oh! They didn't mention the hole, just the bucket. I'm going to have to add "shovel" to the list.

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  13. I usually do have all the items needed for an emergency preparedness kit, just not all together! I would be searching here and there for it all!

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    1. Yeah, I plan to get right around to it, any minute now.

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  14. But what will you do when the zombies arrive?
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. I don't have a zombie plan. I do have a fairy contingency.

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  15. You saw this, right? http://nwnewsnetwork.org/post/study-offshore-fault-where-big-one-originates-eerily-quiet
    Yeah, I'm with you -- emotionally prepared for whatever life throws at me. Although I hope I'm not crushed under a viaduct, or worse, buried under rubble for a slow death. I'm definitely not prepared for that.

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    1. I didn't see that article, but I did hear about it on NPR yesterday--and thought, YES! All those people who thought I might be teasing about our earthquake will know better now.

      Because, um, I do tease sometimes.

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  16. I'm amused by how Midwestern people think earthquakes don't apply to them. When I went through the big L.A. earthquake in Feb. 1971, I discovered that was nothing compared the the largest U.S. earthquake to ever happen in...Missouri. It may by now have been outdone, but at that time, Missouri held the record.

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    1. But in the Midwest, there is no ocean to fall into....the quake may make its own ocean, but that's a different thing altogether..

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    2. The Midwest USED to be a sea. Could be all it needs is a big break.

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  17. Living in California, I've experienced earthquakes all my life and never paid them much mind. Until January of 1994, when the Northridge quake picked up my bed and shook it like a pair of dice and then tossed me out. Now that got my attention. My guess is in a 9.0 you're going to be pretty much screwed no matter what you do.

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