I don’t want to alarm anyone but it would appear the end is nigh, at least where we live. The signs started about a week ago with 12-year old Julian’s nonchalant “Where’s the duct tape?” followed a few hours later with, “Do we have any more Band Aids?”
For the past few days, Julian and my husband John have been quietly and separately stock-piling survival essentials, depleting the pantry, medicine cabinet, and tool box. They’ve been discussing their progress over dinner, sharing advice like the fact that rain ponchos make excellent tents. They privately asked me where I kept said rain ponchos after dinner.
The other day, John called me from work to ask about a package he was expecting—a pocket knife and a utility knife. When I ask about when they think they’re going to use their survival kits, I get mumbles about camping and something some weary you-don’t-understands.
I am no stranger to suburban survival kits. Years ago, in a Post- 9/11 flurry of survivalist activity, my friend Heather and I decided we needed an escape route. Since our neighborhoods are sandwiched between Interstate 95 South and, well, Interstate 95 North, we determined the only place to go was somewhere on Maryland’s Eastern shore which we believed did not require driving on the dreaded and congested I-95. Plus, it’s supposed to be beautiful. What better place to set up a survival camp.
Since our water, food and toilet paper supply could be disrupted, we filled our trunks with bottles of water, toilet paper, tuna, peanut butter, and a map of the United States. We also tried to forget that the only time we’d been on a “road trip” together was a day trip to Baltimore. It took three hours to make the one-hour drive home, most of it spent with the car doors locked in Charm City’s less-charming neighborhoods. Such are our navigation skills.
Still, our half-hearted attempts made us feel a little safer. Two months later, the peanut butter had been eaten, the toilet paper brought back inside in an emergency.
I think there must be a couple of cans of sardines still in the trunk. Maybe I’ll send a Morse code message to my son or husband’s walkie talkie. May the best man win.