Friday, October 29, 2010

Bethany's Prepared

A big welcome to Bethany Herron, one of the Pens' favorite people!

The second I saw this week's theme, I started begging the Pens to let me write for them.Why? I am soooo totally prepared for this topic.

- Thanks to Pen Martha Flynn and her motivating fervor, I now know how to make a debris hut shelter, purify water with nothing but rocks and fire, and start a fire with nothing but materials found in the woods (or Ikea).

- I belong to a post-apocalyptic Book Club.

- I will always own a pickup truck, in order to accommodate my ridiculously large survival box. It's got the standards; emergency blanket, med kit, power bars, water. It also has a full 20# bag of Boonie's dog food. Depending on the apocalypse, I can 1) feed Boonie and myself for a short time, 2) start stealing Boonie's food when my own runs out, and 3) we won't talk about the long-term survival scenario when both of our food runs out and I'm left with a sweet, meaty dog. I'm just saying. I'm a survivor. Unfortunately, so is she (she's an island street-dog rescue), so I think we'll have a wary truce.

- I may be one of the few people out there that watched the entirety of Jeremiah, that (possibly justifiably) overlooked classic starring Malcolm Jamal-Warner, Luke Perry, and, overshadowing both its human costars, Thunder Mountain.

I know there are those among the Pens that have me beat, hands down, in terms of Apocalypse-preparedness or even Apocalypse-obsessiveness. Thanks to them, I know my shortcomings. My apartment is eminently un-defensible. I have no Victory Garden, and in fact, couldn't grow something edible for the life of me. I'm entirely too reliant on my car, and gasoline. In a Mad-Max scenario, I'd be toast.

But it's not the movie-apocalypses that scare me. The thought that has me re-packing my emergency kit every six months is the prospect of a quiet collapse. Where the world isn't struck by asteroids, or nuclear missiles, or overrun by zombies. Instead, things just slowly fall apart.
I remember reading "Into the Forest" by Jean Hegland when I was in high school, and having the terrifying realization that this could happen. It would not take much of a push, and there's a wide variety of pushes that could do it, from civil unrest to widespread communication system failure. If any of these isolated problems make it impossible for things to get quickly back to normal, then the natural, human fear in people can make the situation escalate and pour over into every aspect of life.

For example. The satellite system goes down, for one reason or another. Next thing I know, no one's telling the delivery trucks where to go. Resources become isolated. Suddenly I can't gas up my truck and run up to Tahoe for the weekend. No one can. Fear and paranoia snowballs. Call me a pessimist, I can see it happening.

The only solution? No fear. If everyone becomes a crazy combination of a super-prepared Boy Scout and Rambo, then no one will have reason to fear the Apocalypse, therefore the fear cycle won't start, and the good folks who know what they're doing will have a little time to put the world back together.

So get prepared, people. No fear. Learn trapping skills, so you won't shiv me for my dog food. Learn how to shelter yourself, so I won't have to make mine defensible. Let's all just get along.

(Or, you know, don't, and then all these valuable, life-saving skills will be mine and I'll be hanging in the Sierras while you all are running around wailing and raiding dwindling food stores in East Oakland. Whatevs.)

Bethany Herron (who built the sturdy hut above) is temporarily off the road, not driving trains, and has settled down (probably temporarily) as a grant writer who lives and writes things that aren't grants (like novels) in Oakland. Her dog Boonie is very, very fast.


Rachael Herron said...

I am so glad you're here -- can you come pick me up on your way out of town when the goin' gets rough? Thanks!

L.G.C. Smith said...

Welcome, Bethany! I like to see the critters included in the emergency planning. We keep enough water and a gigantic bag of dog food for ours. Plus we have a plan for how to travel on foot with both dogs and the three cats. We don't think about them as livestock. Yet.

Love that hut. :)

Mysti said...

I keep trying to tell my Luddite husband that a global EMP *might* teach arrogant software so and sos a lesson, but it's going to be much harder on us, the hoi poloi, than he realizes :)

So we're all afraid of apocalypse, slow collapse, and no collapse (govt becoming so efficient Wells seems like a starry-eyed optimist). All the scenarios covered ;)

Thanks for a fun post!

Unknown said...

OMG--okay, Oakland is closer than martha's in sf. I may come hang with you if our infrastructure crumbles. Or I have a nice big backyard for you and Boonie. I'll share if you build the hut ;) Thanks for visiting!!! xo

Martha Flynn said...

When they name you the post-apocalyptic mayor of Oakland, remember your friends!!!!

juliet Blackwell said...

Bethany--how cool to see you here! case of disaster, could I just move in with you please?

Anonymous said...

Ha! Thanks, guys. I have to admit, I'm not nearly as prepared as Martha, though! But you're all welcome at my meagerly defended home.

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