The Christmas crazies are over for another year. The gifts have been opened and the wrappings hauled away by the trash men to contribute to the cities’ waste disposal problem or burned in the fireplace to contribute to the world’s pollution problem.
Amateur time at the mall is over and the pro shoppers have returned to scratch for bargains. At the local Walmart there are more return lines than there are check out lines and everything purchased in the final days of wild “gotta get something” spending has been returned for something useful.
The talk now is all about politics, what is ahead of us as we anticipate the beginning of a new era with a new type of President in charge. Some are predicting the worst and even preparing for a potential disaster with supplies of food, water, medicine, cash, gasoline, flashlights, batteries, cooking and heating supplies. Sounds like we are expecting the end of civilization.
I wonder how we ever made it back in the olden days before modern conveniences? Of course, we were geared for a different sort of existence then, weren’t we? I thought about getting extra wood for the fireplace, and thought about stocking up on canned goods, and managed to come home with two extra jugs of bottled drinking water.
I’ve heard that old-fashioned oil lamps were a popular Christmas gift this year. Lucky me, I already have an oil lamp, maybe two if that decorative one in the living room still actually works. I even have a flashlight for emergencies; of course, extra batteries might be a good idea. I don’t think the little AA ones that we keep around for the clocks and beepers are the right size for anything much.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Red Cross advise everyone to be ready for an emergency at all times as the possibility of a natural or man-made disaster is always present: tornados, wildfires, hazardous material accidents, earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods — not to mention terrorism, riots, or acts of war. They publish lists of the items to keep on hand in case of evacuation or a shelter-in-place warning.
It all gets very confusing. Do I buy candles and food or just forget it? Around here we still remember the big ice storm of several years ago when half the area went without electricity for weeks and weeks in the middle of February and the electric company wouldn’t answer the phone. But the general mood seems to be one of cautious optimism.
Is anyone actually stocking up, other than survivalist types who probably have it all anyhow? As usual, the prepared people are ready and have their shotguns loaded. I’ve never quite figured out why the survivalists need guns. Guess they are afraid that everyone else will mob them and attempt to take it away. Personally, I think I’d attack the grocery store or food warehouse first, but what do I know?
Survival around here would be a short-term thing. We are too dependent on the necessities of modern life, the artificial environment we have created for ourselves. Like most of us, I will believe those who say that nothing will happen, problems will not be severe or widespread, nothing disastrous will happen and life will go on as usual. But the more I think about this stuff, the more nervous I feel. Let’s see, I could always use the extra food later if the world doesn’t end.
I’d like to speculate a bit more on all of this, but I think I’d better run over to Walmart and see if I can find D size batteries, “just in case.” I don’t really think anything bad will happen, of course.