Becoming a “Prepper”

I don’t know why the plight of poor Puerto Rican villagers in Utuado — a tiny spot on the map that I know from Peace Corps training — moved me to order water packs, dried food, and a water purifier from Amazon against the day that Seattle might suffer an earthquake. But that’s what moved me to action.

I’ve gotten some teasing emails about whether I’m turning into a “prepper” — one of those people who lives off the grid in Idaho, surrounded by guns and with my own generator, water supply and food, against the day that government helicopters come to take away my rights. The answer is no.

Nor am I excessively well prepared. As friend Phyllis shared with me, one of her neighbors showed her more than 30 items that one could stock in order to be really ready for a natural or man-made disaster. I don’t have anything like that.

I actually think that living in a downtown high rise with a lot of glass on a steep hill is a terrible place to be in an earthquake. Supposedly builders in Seattle harden these structures to take in to account the possible sway of an earthquake, but cost control what it is, I’d guess those plans meet minimum standards and are not much to count on. I also suspect, because most of my neighbors in the building are young, that I’m better prepared than than the average resident. The young tend to think nothing bad can ever really happen to them. What would it be like to be stranded here and be the only person with food and water and a functioning flashlight?

What, my cell phone flashlight doesn’t work because I have no way to charge the phone? How can that be? It’s the only flashlight I have…

The Puerto Rican disaster has made me a little better prepared. Like everyone else, I hope my supplies reach their shelf-life expiration date without ever having been used, and that when I throw them out unopened I can laugh about the money wasted on the disaster that never came.

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