As I type, Hurricane Sandy is approaching New York. As a person with a vividly analytical imagination and a healthy appreciation for disaster movies, I have been taking important preparation steps over the last few days. If you live in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey or New York, by the time you read this it will already be too late. I’m sorry. Here’s what I did to prepare:
Three Days Out
1. Start reading storm reports more closely. Anticipate a Hurricane Irene situation and stay worry-free.
2. Still, start clearing your calendar for Sunday and Monday.
Two Days Out
3. Refresh the National Hurricane Center’s website every few hours to track storm movement.
4. Go to the Greenmarket to stock up on hurricane supplies: rutabagas, parsnips, onions and lamb shoulder. Also pick up apples and an extra jar of almond butter. Ignore the warning that the almond butter has to be refrigerated after opening.
5. Stop by the office to pick up your laptop just in case you have to work from home.
6. Buy a flashlight, batteries and light for your Kindle. Just in case.
7. Try to formulate an analogy involving Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene and the boy who cried wolf. Fail.
8. Go to a Halloween party dressed as Katniss from the Hunger Games. Successfully French braid for the first time in your life. Have morbid thoughts about partying before the world ends.
One Day Out
9. Your roommate, a Floridian, catches one of the last flights out on a “previously scheduled” vacation. Coincidentally, she also did this right before Hurricane Irene. Become suspicious.
10. Find out the MTA will be shutting down the subways at 7pm. Be glad you cleared your schedule.
11. Decide to see a movie – Cloud Atlas – that alludes to apocalyptic events. Plan the rest of your movie marathon: Take Shelter, The Day After Tomorrow, Twister, Melancholia, The Road.
12. Fill up several containers with water. You lived in remote China in the 90s and know from power outages: it’s much much worse when the water goes out.
13. Remember that unlike when you lived in China in the 90s, you no longer have an easily flushable squat toilet. Fill up more containers with water.
14. Clean your apartment.
15. Go to Whole Foods to pick up some barley for the Scotch Broth you’ll be making with your lamb shoulder and rutabagas. The line starts at the door. Walk out.
16. Charge your iPhone 4S, MacBook, iPod Classic, Blackberry, Kindle and HP laptop.
17. Invite a medical professional friend to stay with you. Also provide refuge to a dozen fruitflies who have decided to shelter in place in your apartment.
18. Call your mom and let her know you’ll stay in touch until the power/cell towers go down. Make jokes about New Yorkers stocking up on wine and kale pre-storm, but leave her more worried than she was before.
19. Call your dad and ask him to honestly tell you if he thinks your windows will blow out from a wind gust. Feel somewhat comforted when he says that unlike a tornado, we won’t see the sudden changes in barometric pressure that cause windows to blow out.
20. Pick up water, peanut butter, string cheese and chocolate for your go-bag. Eat the string cheese and chocolate as soon as you get home.
21. Cook your Scotch Broth. It is delicious, and you’ll be eating it for the next week.
22. Wake up from a disturbing dream wherein you were seated in a bad section at Kim and Kanye’s wedding. Decide the root cause is storm anxiety.
23. Wash your hair. Hope again that the power/water doesn’t go out.
24. Analyze the US wind map and your window placement to determine whether the wind will blow your windows out. Answer: tbd.
25. Turn on NY1, your preferred tv news provider during disasters: so homey and local and not sensationalist. <3 u Pat Kiernan!
26. Manically refresh Twitter.
27. Start hearing massive wind gusts. Try to identify a safe interior space in your apartment. Realize you have no safe interior spaces. Worry some more about your windows.