Surviving Frankenstorm: Pack Light for the Zombie Apocalypse

I always try to use photos I’ve taken for this blog. Clearly, that would not work for this post. Sorry!

Exactly three hundred and sixty four days ago, I wrote about how travel prepared me for a freak October storm.  Well, it’s the end of October yet again, and my part of Pennsylvania–and the entire mid-Atlantic and most of New England–is bracing for yet another Storm of Epic Proportions.

Reading over that October 29th, 2011 post made me realize something–I didn’t really take that storm very seriously.  Fortunately I didn’t have to–the power at my house didn’t even flicker, and all of our trees survived the sudden heavy snow (though we did shovel them.  The trees.  Yes–we shoveled trees).  But my 90-year-old grandparents–who live alone in a house with electric heat and a well–lost power.  For five days.

I’m taking this storm–dubbed ‘Frankenstorm’ by some overly punny pundit–a little more seriously.  But not because of my dear old grandparents’ misfortune last year.  Oh no–that would almost make sense.  I have a far better reason to fear the coming disaster:

I’ve read no fewer than three young adult post-apocalypse dystopian novels in the last week.

In retrospect (and barely in retrospect–this could almost be considered ‘in spect’, sans retro) this was probably not the best idea.  Visions of rationing dented cans of ancient beans flood my vision as I’m serenaded by the beeping of the registers at my local grocery store.  The barren shelves of the camping section at Wal Mart bring to mind post-disaster looting, and the lines at the gas station are apocalypse-tastic.

You’d think that after all of that, I’d be one of the thousands of people stocking up on batteries and bottled water and beef jerky.  But I’m not.  Because I know one things is true–if you’re going to survive the apocalypse (zombie or otherwise), you’re going to have to learn to pack light.  Which brings me to my point:

Travel has made me better able to deal with a disaster.

In all of my awful apocalypse books, do you know what no one ever has?  A large wheeled suitcase.  In fact, most end-of-the-world protagonists have only the clothing on their backs–well, that and whatever they scavenge from dead bodies or find in the backs of cars abandoned on the side of the road.  Which is why I went to the grocery store with a basket, not a cart.

Maybe the power will go out.  Maybe cooking will become difficult, I’ll lose the ability to go online to work, communicate, or entertain myself; maybe it will get cold and I won’t be able to shower for a while.  That would all suck.  Correction–that will all suck.  But traveling has taught me to live without many things–connectivity, easily accessible food, even clean socks and underwear from time to time.  Travel is wonderful, eye-opening, and magical–but it can also be terribly inconvenient.

The temperature is dropping, the sky looks scary, and it is starting to rain.  I have two boxes of wine, a bag of Doritos, and three more end-of-the-world novels (in actual not-needing-to-be-plugged-in book format.  Sorry Kindle–you are great for travel.  But in the apocalypse, I’m leaving you behind, too).  I’m packed and ready to go.  Bring it, Sandy.



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