A Friday Chat About Being Prepared

Photo credit: Marko Mikkonen, CC BY 2.0.

NICOLE: Happy Friday!

EMLORARK: And to you!

NICOLE: It’s a big Friday for a lot of people; the government might shut down, The Billfold just launched a Patreon, um… what about you? Is it a big Friday for you as well?

EMLORARK: It is a small Friday for me, thank gosh, cause it’s been a series of big weekends lately. Last weekend my fiancé met my mom for the first time. But this Friday is pretty relaxed: work, and then a comedy show tonight. I was so nervous about the Billfold, and so happy to hear it will carry on!

NICOLE: I am also happy to hear it will carry on! And I’m very thankful for reader support.

EMLORARK: I can’t emotionally deal with so many of my favorite sites shutting down. I’m still grieving The Toast.

NICOLE: Me too. But Nicole Cliffe and Mallory Ortberg are both writing for Slate now! And Nicole Chung has a book coming out, and Mallory has a book coming out, and Roxane Gay has books coming out, and plenty of Toasties are still making cool stuff.

EMLORARK: That’s true, but sometimes it’s hard to keep up with everyone, when it’s not all in one place — which is a serious first world problem.

NICOLE: I was just reading a Seattle Review of Books post about why we should switch back to RSS feeds. Even if we have to pay for the good ones (now that Google Reader is no more). That way you can get all your stuff in one place.

EMLORARK: RIP Google Reader. Do you use one? I haven’t since Reader.

NICOLE: I haven’t since Reader either. I tried The Old Reader and gave it up. Can’t remember why.

EMLORARK: I guess we are closer to those days where you had to follow individual blogs. Or Twitter.

NICOLE: I don’t mind checking my favorite blogs and websites every morning, though. It feels like I’m helping them out with pageviews and ad revenue, maybe?

EMLORARK: That’s true. It’s not so much that I mind it, it’s just that I get slammed at work and something falls off my radar and then I forget to check it again. But, like I said, it is a small complaint in the face of a government shutdown and imminent ballistic missile attacks.

NICOLE: Wait I didn’t know about the missile attacks, what’s that story?!

EMLORARK: Oh, I just mean the alerts Hawaii got.

NICOLE: Oh, for sure. That was unbelievable.

EMLORARK: I spent a lot of this week wondering what I’d do if I got an alert like that.

NICOLE: I did read somewhere that most people checked the internet to confirm, which was the (sadly?) logical response. Like, they checked the internet before seeking shelter, which… makes sense.

EMLORARK: Yeah, honestly I’d probably immediately look at Reddit.

NICOLE: Yeah, Reddit and Twitter.

EMLORARK: And then what? Fill the bathtub with water? Get under a school desk?

NICOLE: Yep, go to the lowest part of your home without any windows, take fresh clothes, food, water, etc. with you.

EMLORARK: I saw a video of a dad helping his kids through a manhole cover.

NICOLE: Oh wow. That is one way of getting below ground.

EMLORARK: Right? I couldn’t decide if it was weird or genius. Do you have tornadoes where you are? It seems like a tornado shelter might be a good place. I’ve only ever worried about earthquakes, but I don’t think a doorway will protect you from a nuke.

NICOLE: I actually lived through a tornado when I was in college.

EMLORARK: Oh wow! Tell me more!

NICOLE: My home had a cellar/tornado shelter, and we heard the sirens and got inside.

EMLORARK: What was it like? Could you tell if it got close to you?

NICOLE: We actually heard tornado sirens a few times a year, but some of them are false alarms and most of the time we just stayed inside the house to wait and see. This was the only time we also saw the funnel cloud building, so we ran. I grabbed a bag of bagels, a box of bandaids, and the Brita pitcher of water. The bandaids turned out to be useful because our neighbors (who also used the shelter) had a little kid who immediately tripped and had a boo boo.

EMLORARK: Wow, what luck that you grabbed them! How long were you down there?

NICOLE: About 15 minutes, maybe? There’s an all-clear siren. When we got out it was really weird; we could see the path of devastation through the town. Our home was fine, as were the other homes on our street, but many homes were damaged or destroyed.

EMLORARK: That’s so scary.

NICOLE: Yeah, it was pretty scary. But the next day we all put on our work clothes and started clearing out debris.

EMLORARK: That’s great.

NICOLE: The whole town worked together, the Red Cross showed up, it was pretty amazing.

EMLORARK: Was it a small town?

NICOLE: 2,500 people.

EMLORARK: That’s a serious thing to go through. Did it make you feel things about human resiliency?

NICOLE: Honestly I had tornado nightmares for the next six months.

EMLORARK: Ugh, did you think about moving?

NICOLE: Well, I was in college, so I did go back to campus fairly soon. Which meant that I also missed a lot of the rebuilding. But that’s part of what you deal with in the Midwest: when I was in elementary school, we had one of those 100-year floods. We all had to evacuate our homes, etc.

EMLORARK: I’m from Southern California, so mostly fires and earthquakes.

NICOLE: Also very destructive.

EMLORARK: But thankfully we never had to evacuate, and I’ve become very blasé about earthquakes. I guess there’s nowhere you can live where you’re entirely protected from natural disasters.

NICOLE: Probably not. When I moved out of my apartment in Seattle I left my Extreme Survival Kit for the next occupant with a note explaining that I hope he never had to use it.

EMLORARK: That was very nice of you!

NICOLE: It was too heavy to mail and too big to carry, so it was more of a logistical decision!

EMLORARK: Just because it benefited you too doesn’t mean it wasn’t nice! I’ve been thinking we should issue earthquake kits to new Portlanders, since there are so many new folks every year. So really, you’re just doing your part.

NICOLE: We all do what we can with what we have. And on that note, let’s enjoy our weekends! Have fun at your comedy show! I’ll be at the opera tonight, which will be like a tragedy show plus singing.

EMLORARK: Ooh, you are much fancier than me. Have fun!

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