Saturday, September 04, 2010

Shake it up baby, now (shake it up baby)

I went to the grocery store today and everybody was freaking out, buying mass quantities of bottled water and batteries. Never mind how far Wellington is from Christchurch (though reports are that the quake was felt up here).

I guess these things just bring home how unprepared we all are for the 'big one' and how it could happen to any one of us. This latter point is not just hypothetical or sympathetic. New Zealand sits on a bajillion fault lines. It really could happen to any one of us.

(This does not phase me, by the way. I used to live in one of the safest cities in the United States for natural disasters and then some jackasses flew a plane into the Pentagon. Which is to say, you never know what's coming for you.)

For me, the earthquake just reminds me that I am out here all alone. Not lonely, mind. Those are two different things. But alone. A maverick. An explorer.

All of the people in the world who would take a bullet for me live 10,000 miles away. And really, it all boils down to this: If the 'big one' hit Wellington tomorrow, there is not a single person who would think about me first.

Oh, I have friends. Don't get me wrong. But when the worst happens, and instinct kicks in and the first thing you think of is, "Oh my God, I hope ______ is okay".... well I don't fill in that blank for anyone in New Zealand.

And that's just life. When disaster hits, people think about their partners and their children. About their mothers and fathers. About their brothers and their sisters.

And I have no problem with that. It is the trade off for this life lived a-wanderin'. All it means is that I've learned how to save myself. And though I would be lying if I didn't say that I wished for that go-to person who'd think about me first here, there is something to be said for the ability to save oneself.

These people that populate my life here, they will think of me eventually. Once they and their own are safe and provided for.

And by then, I will sharing my bottled water with the woman down the street with the sick baby, whom I have never met, but I always notice as she's trying to settle him into his stroller without tangling the tubes on his oxygen tank.

And I'll be sharing my first aid supplies to patch up the boys on the next block who try to run me over on their skateboards, but always call me ma'am.

And I'll be giving my canned food to the neighbours who infuriatingly park so badly they block my garage on a daily basis, but who came to retrieve the dead mouse from my house when I showed up unannounced on their doorstep in tears.

In short, I'll be fine. And I'll be doing what I can in the community I am in.

Nobody's getting my dusty vodka stash, though. I'm going to need that in the post-apocalyptic barter economy.


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