Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What's Important

Earthquakes and tsunamis. Hurricanes and floods. Fires burning out of control during the hottest days of the year. There are countless individuals dealing with death, and injury, and devastating loss, just in this year alone. Samoa is in the news. Noel writes about the death toll in Manila (click here).

Me? My scooter is in the shop for a shredded belt, so I have to sit in freeway traffic on the way to work and on the return home. I almost hesitate to mention that. But I mention it in order to illustrate how my own reality couldn't come close to comparing what these victims and survivors are going through. I can only imagine.

And I do. I imagine what it must be like to lose your entire home and all of your material belongings.

The recent summer fires were several miles away from where I live, but they were still too close for comfort. I saw more than one enormous black plume of puffy black smoke coming from the hills in the last month.

I think of the home owners who live frighteningly close to the fires, and the amount of notice they may have had before being forced to evacuate. What did they take with them? How did they choose, how did they prioritize?

The dogs, that's definitely the first thing I would take with me in an emergency, our two pugs. My heart breaks for the animals that did not survive Hurricane Katrina, and also for those who did survive but were homeless and owner-less after. The news showed some rescue boats approaching people perched above water on their roof tops or in second story windows. Humans had to be given priority over animals, so people with pets were not allowed to take their canine companions into the small vessels with them.

I couldn't do that, leave my dogs behind.

At least, I think I wouldn't. It's easy to say that from the comfort of my non-flooded home, easy to think so when I have never come close to being in such a desperate and dire situation.

But if I had any kind of advance notice, I'd try to my take my recorded history with me, my identity. I would take any and all photographs with me after the dogs' safety was ensured (and I would grab the plastic critter cage with the two dwarf hamsters). I have kept diaries and journals since I was in grade school in the 70's, and I would rush to find and rescue those.

I have over two hundred Furbies, the majority of which are still in their original unopened boxes. Sadly, I think I would have to choose to leave them all behind.

What's important to you? What would you take with you in an emergency evacuation?


Lion's Cub said...

Okay, so back in 2007 the Portola Springs fire started right across the street from where I was living. Really. You could stand on my patio, reach out your hand and feel the heat from the flames.

Needless to say, I was evacuated. What did I take with me? Every article of clothes that I owned. And pictures of my kids.

Yep. That's what defines me.

Louise Larsen said...

Wait, a minute!

Those are YOUR Furbies?

Wow. That's quite a collection.

I know, I hate hearing about these disasters. It breaks my heart to imagine the fear and loss these people are enduring right now.

And, yes, I can't even get my brain around all the pets that end up wounded, lost or worse as a result of these disasters. I can't even watch the television when those Humane Society ads come on.

I lose it.

This stuff unglues me.


Btw: Your blog is lookin' fine!

DK @ Knucklehead! said...

Pete, I'm impressed. You're becoming a steady blogger!

I don't have too much that's irreplaceable, but photos would come with me, some of my most valuable sports memorabilia (wow, do I sound shallow) and whatever Oreos I haven't finished. Can't let those go to waste.

Peter Varvel said...

Lion's Cub, you took the photos with you but not the actual kids?
All kidding aside, I'm glad you're safe!

Louise, I know, those commercials! (and I can never watch the animal cops shows, like, at all).

DK, well, natch', saving the Oreos goes without saying. And don't be too impressed - I don't know when I'll, uh, peter out!