Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Thursday, June 05, 2008


So I’ve been a little sick the last few days. It started out like strep throat which, of course, hit me during our Canadian long weekend. By the time my doc’s office was open again the lurgy had morphed into a cold where antibiotics were useless. It was a weird and wonderful sniffle where I’d suddenly cough until I gagged and I’d sweat until drenched. My voice warbled, my tummy grumbled and I was very out of sorts. One of those kinds of viruses that make you feel like ass but don’t quite knock you on it. Being upright felt terrible but lying in bed was worse; really boring.

While I missed a much needed haircut and a consultation for laser hair removal (what a sexy theme) I did manage to go an ‘Emergency Preparedness’ seminar at my local community centre. I was asked to attend as I am on-call for a week every month or so for emergency situations in my apartment building. We don’t have an on-site manager after business hours so some tenants, including me, were hired to be available if the shit hits the fan. Figuratively. If any real shit hits any actual fan and causes a big mess then that is the tenant’s problem and isn’t considered a real emergency and, therefore, not my responsibility. However, if the fecal collision causes fire, flood or injury then I’m the one who calls the authorities and lets them into the building.

So what I thought was an informal chat about general emergency situations turned out to be an emotional plea from a uniformed fireman to get it into our thick heads that an earthquake, THE BIG ONE, was imminent and we should all GET PREPARED!

Now if you live on the West Coast you have heard your whole life that there is going to be a HUGE earthquake; sometime between the next minute and 600 years. This sort of time-frame doesn’t really light a Boy Scout fire under my butt to ‘Be Prepared’ with any kind of urgency.

Well sisters and brothers, after 4 hours in gory detail of what to expect when (not IF, dammit, but whennnnnnn…) The Big One hits I have been converted. I am now a card carrying fear monger. I’ve been spreading the anxiety to others and, to practice what I preach, spending the last few days compiling my emergency kit and making list of what I need to know to survive in the urban wilderness sans water, food and a toilet.

In the past, when thinking about what I would do in event of an actual earthquake I have to admit to assuming that, yeah, there will be a jiggle or two and I could just wander down to the local community centre, my nearest emergency resource location, and get water, food and medical assistance as I needed. Even seeing all the terrible news footage of the big California quake in the 90’s and what happened after Katrina I still managed to blame that on crappy building codes and stupid government policy. I rationalized that the Canadian government actually took care of its citizens and that we (the grand yet ambiguous we) had our shit together and would be taken care of.

Oh ho! Soooooo not the case. Denial was my bedmate but now I sleep alone. Afraid and alone. All sorts of acronyms were thrown at me but the one that sticks in my mind the most is YOYO. That, my friends, translates to You’re On Your Own. I learned that it will be at least 72 hours, if not several days, before anybody can expect any kind of assistance from authorities and aide workers. OMG! That means unless you provide the basics for yourself you are SOL. And if that is the case nobody will be there to hear your whining so STFU. Also BYOB. I packed water but vodka would work too.

So many interesting points were brought up, yet the one foremost in my mind was the suggestion to pack garbage bags into your emergency kit as it is likely your toilets will no longer work and you basically have to poop somewhere. Fabulous. The Bag of Shame.

* Um, actually this post is about a week old and I still have to catch you all up on even more recent news. Also my Bloglines isn't working right so I have to catch up on all your blogs as well. Bear with me. I'll be around, I promise.


KULA said...

I'm still stuck on the "shit hitting the fan" scenario. Funny!

It's really weird. Earlier today (well, yesterday) I watched on the National Geographic channel a program about the fault line that affects the West coast and the preparedness, or lack thereof, of the buildings and people. I count my blessings for living in the middle of the country.

alan said...

After almost a MONTH (did I mention how terribly long a month is?) I'm just glad you know you are doing all right and that Yoshi didn't have you tied up somewhere trying to ransom you for tuna or something!

Popular Science said we were do for one here in the late 60's and it hasn't hit yet, so I should be doing the same. When the boys were small we were better about anchoring shelves and bookcases to the walls because they would climb anything...

Looking forward to the rest of those updates you spoke of!


Ern said...

The Bag of Shame? Bwahahaha! A very funny post. I, too, grew up with that kind of timeline, as there is a big fault through Salt Lake City as well. I haven't ever had an emergency kit though. Maybe I should light a boyscout fire under my butt?

kalki said...

Damn I missed you. Classic post.

"Denial was my bedmate but now I sleep alone."


here today, gone tomorrow said...

The way you write...yeesh! Perfect.

I'm behind on my emergency stockpiling, but the lesson of Katrina is still very clear in my head. The most powerful nation on th planet does not give a shit, and we truly are on our own.

Squirl said...

Enough to, literally, scare the shit out of you. Got yer garbage bags handy?

I like your sleep alone line, too.

JP said...

Glad you are back! I did miss you as well. Hope you are feeling better. Seems like you caught the plague that swept through these parts about a 2 months ago.

That preparedness class sounds brutal. Did the instructor live on a compound somewhere building emergency kits to sell? =)

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Most folks don’t realize it, but here in the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys we have a fault line that could also create an earthquake at any moment. I wish I had attended that seminar!

HAR said...

I am with HTGT, Katrina really rocked my world. We are on our own.