"We don't want you to get upset," my parents said when they called me this evening.
This is not a good start to a conversation with my parents. Usually, they sound upset when they call me or leave a message, so I'm already all worked up when I speak to them. So when they start a conversation this way a few things are possible:
- one of our many distant relatives has died (this usually requires a five minute explanation of who said relative is and how they are related to me)
- something catastrophic like all the SUV's exploding at once has happened in the small town they live in
These are the things I always imagine has happened when my father leaves me a stern message that says, "ASB, call me when you get this."
- one of my parents is dead (which makes me not want to call back)
- my sister is dead (also, fills me with dread and does not make me call back)
- they've found a dog that they love and are keeping and it has puppies and one is for me (is the only reason I ever return these calls but is way less likely than any of the above scenarios including the exploding SUV's)
"What happened?" I said.
"There's going to be a hurricane. It's heading straight for you. They said so on the news."
"Oy vey," I said. "They said the name of my town on the news?"
"It's a very common place for hurricanes to hit."
"They haven't had one here since 1992."
Nobody was interested in that ACTUAL FACT, by the way.
"Don't get all worked up," my mother said. "But you should go out RIGHT NOW before everyone else does and get water and soup and things you can eat when the power goes out. Enough food for a few days. I mean, probably nothing will happened, but it's good to be prepared. Oh, and get a flashlight too. And also some cheese--the kind that will stay a little while if the power goes out, not the good kind. Go now, you know how people are, they get all worked up when there's a hurricane and they buy everything in the stores and then there won't be anything for you."
How could I argue with this logic? So, I went to the market. By the way, nobody else in town even knows about this storm yet. People in the store were giving me looks that said: what is such a small person as you doing filling up an entire cart with non-perishable goods? Moreover, CNN really is making it seem like not such a big deal--they're making it seem like Irene is a little bit of a mess, the hurricane meteorologist is quoted as saying "We need to see how much it will get its act together."
Well, guess who has HER act together? Me. I now have two gallons of water, a flashlight, backup batteries, candles (the kind in the glass so that they don't drip), matches, canned soup and fruit and a brand spanking new package of not so good bread that will last until Tuesday. I may have also gotten some Diet Coke, because, well, you never know when you're going to need some.
I bet there will be NO hurricanes the entire time I live here now. That's why, like the Boy Scouts say, it's good to be prepared.