We lead reasonably safe, secure lives here in America. But in the past few weeks, the shit has hit the fan more than once. The first time was figuratively when the Chechen-American terrorists bombed Boston, and the second time quite literally when a fertilizer factory exploded, destroying much of a town. If your world changed in a moment of madness, what would you save from your house?
American abundance leads us to accumulate many, many things — most of which we don’t need to survive. For the sake of this exercise, let’s assume you have enough to survive after the disaster strikes — you have access to food, water, shelter, and other facilities (you have a place to go poop!). So what, from your American abundance would you want with you to start your life over again. I actually look forward to this exercise because I am tormented by the amount of things we have accumulated.
If a fire chases me from my home, or a tornado knocks it over, or an earthquake takes it out from under me, what would I need.
Pens, Pencils, and Paper
I can do a lot of planning, writing, and rebuilding with pens, pencils and paper.
I keep a large part of my digital life in the cloud (or several clouds) so my family photos and videos are out there, and my music collection is out there, and many important projects and data files are out there. It’s nice to have copies on a laptop though, or access to them through a machine available to me.
I am learning the ukulele. I’ve had one for almost two years, and the past six months I’ve really worked at it. I’m not good, but keeping up with it makes me feel good about the world.
I don’t have all my favoriet books on Kindle or Nook yet, and there are some books on my shelf I like to look at. What I’m saying is that it does my soul good to have access to books, and I’d want a few of them to start over. I have a couple of poetry books and art history books that I’d want around, so it wouldn’t all be novels with the sexy parts highlighted.
My fascination with pictures from my life and past may actually be a symptom of a larger problem I have, but taking pictures is important to me. In this experiment, I think it’d be important when rebuilding to take photos of the efforts made, and the challenges faced.
To sum up, I’d want books, and music, and art and photography in my life as I rebuild. I’d be creating that part of my life along with the comfortable living part of my life.
Two years ago, one of my neighbors lost their house to a fire. No one was hurt, but the place burned down to the foundation. Total loss. Before that, an acquaintance of mine at work lost their home to a tornado. The wind tore the place down and scattered their possessions over a wide swath. And a few years before that, my Aunt was chased from her home near Pittsburgh when heavy rains flooded it to the second floor. She lost everything.
I’m not trying to tempt fate by talking about it, but I am trying to remind myself of what possessions I truly care about. If my family is safe and sound, then I’m not going to lose sleep if a recliner, or a sofa, or a china cabinet is lost, especially if I can begin rebuilding my creative life as soon as possible after a catastrophe.
How about you?