4.25.2008

Preparation A-G & I-Z

I’m way too prepared.

I’m prepared for far too many different instances. Why I am, I don’t really know. I usually chalk it up to the fact that “I was a Cub Scout”… but they NEVER taught us that in Cub Scouts. They probably stress that more in the full-fledged Boy Scouts, but I never made it past Webelos rank before my family moved, and we never bothered looking into the new local chapter.

Even so, I don’t think the Boy Scouts think to prepare for some of the crap I prepare for. Course, I’m pretty sure I don’t prepare for the things they do, either. I don’t know where the interest/obsession for “Emergency Supplies” comes from, but I’d be curious to find out. Maybe, deep down, I’m a closet Survivalist. Who knows? If that’s the case… I’ll survive some pretty odd instances…

Should a Zombie Outbreak occur… I’ll be all set. I have two copies of the Zombie Survival Handbook… bought one, and received another as a gift (so now its one for the house, one for the car). I’ve seen all the movies, read a lot of books, have access to blunt makeshift weapons, and am pretty confident that should the dead start to rise, I’m equipped to be able to deal.

The fact that Zombies rising is a complete impossibility hasn’t stopped me, and nor should it you.

Yeah, it doesn’t make sense… but I figure there’s about as much a chance as that happening as there is an actual nuclear war (I hope I’m not wrong on that), and at the very least, it’s a lot more entertaining hobby-wise. So when I visit new buildings or apartments, it gives me a neat mental assignment to evaluate the “Zombie Defense Factor”… how well would it stand up against a horde of walking dead? Hey, it gets me through the day.

Not that all my preparations are relegated to the world of fantasy… most are quite practical. I think, at least. They are for everyday, minor-in-retrospect, real-world everyday situations that have occurred, and continue to for we regular folk. I like to think it’s for these small, minor situations and crises that I’m fairly well-equipped.

For instance, I always carry a handkerchief… not for my own use. Life throws sucky things at you… things that will make a lady cry. I like to be able to show a little chivalry by being able to provide a clean, soft cotton/linen handkerchief for a lady to wipe her tears. Or use it to help stop the cut on a bleeding child (hopefully when a lady is watching… in theory that gets big brownie points). The one thing I *don’t* do is blow my own snots into it. That’s what tissues are for.

I like to keep a small magic trick on hand in my jacket pocket. Usually the “disappearing hanky” trick. It’s simple, impressive, small and easily portable… and allows at a moment’s notice, the ability to be amazing. This one is mostly for the kids.

I also always keep a small bag in my car, with a clean pair socks, underwear, t-shirt and sweatpants. Just a small emergency outfit, should I need to change into clean, dry clothes. (This is in addition to the Roadside Emergency Kit, which already contains flares, duct tape, jumper cables, Fix-A-Flat, small wrench set, etc.) That outfit has come in handy on quite a few occasions. Like when I got into a car accident in 1998, and that car wasn’t going anywhere else. Since I was visiting family for the day, my apartment and clothes were far away, and I wasn’t getting back to it that weekend, that’s for sure. It was very nice to be able to change into fresh clothes. Or for an impromptu sleep-over at a friend’s… when again, driving back home was going to be too far. I think that’s just generally a good thing to keep around. Yeah, it’s not that fashionable, but it’ll do in a pinch.

Of course, I always have a First Aid kit in my car… everyone should have one. I try to change it with a new one about once a year. Sure, the expirations are longer than that… but when a plastic case sits in your car… through hot heat and/or icy cold… I feel better having band-aids that haven’t been through the ringer, weather-wise.

Emergency Supplies in your car, I believe, are a necessity not for oneself, but for others. That is, of course, if you’ve got a touch of the “Good Samaritan” in you. When I was living in a small apartment in East L.A., I was driving home from work on a Sunday (after picking up some weekend hours)… it was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I remember. There was one of two ways I could go home… the longer roundabout way, with less traffic, or the more direct route with a lot of traffic. Both would take about the same amount of time. On this day, I opted for the roundabout way… (it was the way I normally didn’t go). Then, on the 210 Freeway, an SUV about 30 feet in front of me, got cut off by another car… it lost control, hit against the concrete guardrail, turned sideways, and rolled about 3 times… right in front of me. I saw the sparks from when it hit the guardrail, and had to swerve out of the way, or I would have collided into the rolling SUV. I swerved into the left-hand breakdown lane, immediately pulled to a stop, jumped out of my car, and ran towards the SUV… which came to a rest on its side. Other people had stopped too, and when the door opened, and a young Asian kid poked his head out, with blood running down his face… well, it sure gives you a different perspective on things. Myself and the other motorists got the family out of and away from the car (A woman and her 3 kids), someone was already on the horn to the police… and then I went to my trunk.

Pulled out my First Aid kit… wrapped an Emergency Blanket around two of them (it looks like folded tin foil, but it’s good for keeping in body heat… and better than nothing), gave the young boy the fleece pullover I was wearing (yes, I literally gave him the shirt off my back, and I let him keep it. He needed it more than I did, frankly… I grew up in the cold.), then pulled out the flares and set them about 20 feet from the wreckage, so the police and emergency vehicles would find it better. I hung around long enough to give a statement to the police, and waited for a relative of theirs to come by and get them… I just wanted to make sure they were safe.

When seeing their uncle run up, and they all grabbed a hold of one another, crying and scared, I remember thinking that they were going to be VERY thankful that year on the upcoming Turkey Day… and would hug each other a little tighter, and every “I Love You” would mean that much more, because thankfully, they were alive, which was the most important thing. Of the motorists that stopped to help, I was the second-to-last to leave… the other guy stayed longer because the family was sitting on the back of his pickup. Otherwise, the police and paramedics had it all in hand, doing what they do best.

My best friend told me later that I was “meant to be there to help them” at that moment. Maybe… that would be a neat psychic-like reason for me to take the route I normally didn’t… but I would sincerely hope that if I wasn’t there, then surely someone ELSE would have given a spare blanket, a first-aid kit, and had flares to put out. It boggles my mind to think that someone might have those, and NOT use them in that situation.

That year, *I* was thankful that I had those things to be able to contribute to the situation. Soon after, I replenished the lost supplies, and I’m set for the next time an emergency rears its ugly head.

That’s probably the most “Emergency” (with a capital E) type of situation I’ve encountered. All the other emergencies I’m prepared for are more of the “minor everyday crises” kind.

For instance…. Tampons.

I’m a male. Technically, I personally should not have, and hopefully never WILL have, a personal use for a tampon or other sanitary napkin. (I actually have, but that’s an embarrassing medical story from the late 90s and I don’t feel like relaying that…) But I have tampons close by “just in case”.

In my last relationship, I bought a box of tampons (the brand my girlfriend used), and hid them. So that if she ever needed them in an emergency, I could pull them out, relieve her suffering, be her daily hero again, etc. (I like that kind of thing.) When we broke up, I pulled them out of hiding, and gave them to her… because what the hell would *I* do with them?

Later on, I got to thinking… and figured, “Well, I have a lot of female friends and acquaintances. Surely, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that one of them will be caught needing one and not have one.” Though I still thought it would look incredibly weird (more so than I usually am) if I kept a large box of assorted absorbancy tampons in my car. But then I was roaming through a pharmacy and found the “Travel-size” aisle, with all the mini-versions of toiletries for about a buck or two. And some places offer a miniature box of tampons in the selection. Only contains 4 of them… but that seemed just the right amount that would get someone through an emergency… and the box is small enough to fit in my glove compartment, or hide in the bottom of my emergency bag. As an extra preparatory bonus (and probably an easier reason to explain why a male keeps these), if I ever get a gash or large cut on myself while out and about… unravel one and slap it on. Nothing absorbs blood better.

Sure, I’ll still get the weird looks of “Uh… why do you carry tampons?”… but I’m used to being the weird one. So what? And in a pinch, I’d think the beneficiary would be glad that I *did* have them. And having a small box feels easier to justify and explain then keeping a Costco-sized batch sitting on my back seat.

So yeah, I’ll never personally have a need for a tampon, but others will. That’s actually also my thinking behind picking up the Plan B pill.

In the whole “Emergency Contraception” debate… I’m on the side that figures, “better safe than sorry”. I’d rather have it around and not need it, then need it and not have it around. Though, with my luck in love and dating… I actually doubt that it’ll be used after sex that I personally have been involved in. But I have friends. And I know that “things happen”. The sooner its taken after the unprotected sex, the better… so it could make a difference that it comes from me a lot sooner than it takes to drive to a pharmacy, buy the Plan B, and drive back. I think 45 bucks is worth helping out a friend before they need the help. Hell, I’d even be willing to give it to a gal I hope never to see again, should she be in that situation and I’m in the area. Because I’m not doing it for her… or even for my friends that I’d be giving it to. It’s for that future child. No child deserves be thought of as “a mistake”, even for a split second. Better to hold off birth until proper preparations can be made, if possible.

So I have it. Sitting in a little “train bag” filled with all the toiletry items in my Emergency Bag. By this point… after doing this for years, and adding to it every now and then (“Oh, that would be good to have in the kit…”)... it’s gotten to be pretty big, actually. This is the list of what I keep in there at this moment:

1 roll of waterproof medical tape.
1 single-use instant Cold Compress
2 glow-sticks
1 small bottle of hand sanitizer
Small waterproof case with matches
Flashlight
4 pack of AA batteries
1 army-issue neckerchief/scarf (multitude of uses)
Leatherman multi-tool
4-pack of Playtex Tampons
1 travel pack of tissues (Tissue? I hardly know you!)
1 travel size deodorant
1 toothbrush
1 travel size toothpaste
1 pack of “scrubbing toothpicks”
4 decongestant pills
travel case of advil
1 Tide to-go instant stain remover
1 travel shampoo
1 travel styling gel
1 mini sample of cologne
1 travel bottle of mouthwash
1 travel roll of toilet paper
1 pack of earplugs
spare contact lens case
1 travel bottle lens-cleaning solution
1 small bottle lens re-wetting drops
1 mini case of band aids
2 single use Oxy-Clean wipes
1 travel pack Moist Wipes
1 travel pack Clorox Disinfecting wipes
The Plan B Emergency Contraception
Condoms
2 pack of Hand Warmers
1 pack of Toe Warmers
1 sample pack of bodywash
1 extra handkerchief
1 travel bottle moisturizing lotion
pencils and paper

… and on occasion, I’ll put in a travel shaving kit, with razor, shaving gel, balm, etc. I also tend to go through it every few months to replace out older items, just in case.

Looking through the bag just now as I’m writing this (to remind myself what I had in there)… I noticed I had two travel size deodorants in there. I took out the extra one… I can use that room for something else.

Excessive? Maybe. But over 90% of that stuff has become useful and used on more than one occasion.

What do you think? Have I forgotten anything?

5 comments:

Valancy Jane said...

The following statements are equally true.

You are so weird.

I'm so glad we're friends.

fritz said...

Scrubbing toothpicks? Can you please describe what they look like? I don't think I've ever seen those.... I'll come back later to do a real response.

V. Riley said...

Take a regular toothpick, and put some thin, fern-like extensions on the end... helps "scrub" out the difficult-to-get bits. Probably no more useful then regular toothpicks, but the dispenser they came in was cute.

fritz said...

My dad was a scout leader, so I grew up with the motto, "Be prepared," although I never did the girl scout thing. It was always a little weird playing with the boys on the playground who were boy scouts b/c they knew they had to be careful about just how obnoxious they got out of fear of my father.

Speaking of my father, the other thing he taught me was to look in all directions before crossing the street...left, right, and UP. You never know when a plane or helicopter could be crashing in your vicinity. I'm pretty sure he meant it as a joke, and we continued to treat it as such for several years, but now that I'm trying to teach my young son about safely crossing the street, I find myself thinking, "Look up," but not saying it yet.

Glad you're so prepared! We actually need to move our emergency kit back into the car (it was easy to keep it in the trunk when we had a car with a trunk, but now that we've got cargo space instead, it's just another projectile. Gotta get a cargo net, I guess.

And on the tampons, thanks for stocking them. I can't tell you how many times friends would ask me for some in high school (and since I didn't use them, I never had them). It always bugged me that they weren't prepared.

rickieblue said...

wooden baseball bat with nails sticking out.