Saturday, February 2, 2008

How to Prepare for The Apocalypse Part 1

The other day I was talking with a coworker about the refurb job he was about to start on his broken iPod, and somehow we got on the topic of life skills, and what happens when the apocalypse kicks off, society breaks down, and things start looking a lot like scenes from Mad Max, only with fewer Mel Gibson-ish heroes.

His theory was that it's important to have a skill that would be useful, so that you would be allowed in the 'compounds' created by the people who survived. The skills acquired as Technical Training Consultants and E-Learning Consultants such as ourselves would not be in great demand, so it would be important to have some skill set that makes you appealing to the people in the compounds, so that you are allowed in, such as building things, or bicycle repair.

It's highly desirable to be in the compound, as otherwise you would be left as chum for the Toecutter Gang, and that, as we all know, is not desirable at all.

I view him is the best kind of coworker to have - one that keeps things in perspective. Needless to say, we get along fabulously.

Fortunately my small efforts at homesteading, plus some prior experience in the military give me a fighting chance at being allowed in the compound, if not a reasonable option of starting my own compound, which is the superior choice, as long as my husband doesn't object too loudly to sharing the front lawn with a hundred or so semi-permanent residents and extensive fortifications.

I'm sure he'll adapt.

And while this makes me gloat a little to know that I will be welcomed, and that chick in the blue SUV who cut me off last week while yapping on her cell phone will probably become a snack for the roaming gangs, it does bring a sobering bent to my thoughts.

Personally, I have no desire for the apocalypse. I sort of like certain things about modern society, such as movies & medical care, and that there's this cool machine that I stuff full of dirty clothes and it spits out clean ones. My kind of magic, our washing machine. Oh, and HGTV, it would be a shame if that went away. I really love the internet as well. And the idea of never again having a cappuccino from Starbucks makes me mutter in dismay.

My list of things I enjoy about our modern world is near-endless, and this from someone who prefers a book to TV most of the time, and likes our woodstove more than central heating.

But I find it a little scary that the bulk of us have minimal skills that would allow us to survive and thrive in a crisis. We are utterly dependent on the status quo of modern society. Ask the folks who rode out Hurricane Katrina how important it was to have basic survival skills.

Breakdowns in the supply chain of goods and services are devastating. In the dead of winter, many don't have the capacity to survive in their homes, for sheer lack of any non-utility based heat.

I'm hardly one of those types who intends to run off to a homestead in the Dakotas (this would require me living in the Dakotas, so not an option) and start stockpiling Ensure like it's going out of style.

Consider that most of the tasks involving manual labor are those that are looked on with a shake of the head and a shrug in our modern society. Being an executive is valuable, knowing how to chop wood.....not so much. And yet, on a purely functional level, the wood chopper provides a much more needed resource, and requires much less infrastructure to be available - just a simple axe, a stump or another block of wood to chop on, and the wood to be chopped.

Oh, and a cute husband in jeans out there doing the chopping, but that's not a requirement, just a perk.

Under our typical yuppie exteriors, we have begun to cultivate the more basic life skills in our home. Fixing things. Gardening with heirloom seeds for sustainability. Cooking from scratch. Growing fruit trees. Canning our garden produce. Looking for local resources. Using wood from our trees to heat at least part of the house. Sewing. Looking into solar power. Doing these things is better for our budget, the environment, and we get the joy of saying we did it/made it/fixed it ourselves.

The infrastructure that sustains our modern world is fragile. Wonderful, in many senses, but fragile nonetheless. And it's fragility is worrisome to me. I like my modern world. I certainly hope that the apocalypse doesn't occur before I make it to Bali & get to trek the Lycian Way.

But if it does, come on by. Leave your cell phone and SUV at home, and bring your axe. And if you pass the Toecutter gang on the way in, tell 'em I said hello.


leann said...

There was a tv show on last month that talks about what would happen to earth if humans cease to exist. Your paragraph about modern infrastructure reminded me about that.

I think I know enough to be let onto the compound...and DH definitely does. Phew.

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