Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Border Between Prepared and Nutty

When I was growing up, we had Arrowhead drinking water delivered to the house every week in five gallon bottles. This was in part because in our aging house, the pipes had rusted a bit and the tap water had a iron-heavy, unpleasant taste to it. But since we had the water coming in every week anyway, my parents had decided to turn it into a preparedness tool as well, and so as we cycled bottles in and out we always had a store of 10-12 of the 5gal bottles in the house. Southern California is prone to earthquakes, and earthquakes are prone to breaking pipes.

The house wasn't large, and so the bottles tended to live in the entry way, sitting in a line along the wall where the delivery man plunked them down. Visitors tended to remark in loud tones, "Well, you're certainly ready for the 'big one' aren't you?"

Being overly prepared for unlikely eventualities is often looked on as a bit odd. It did, however, come in handy when the Northridge earthquake stuck (its epicenter was 2-3 miles from our house) and we were without running water for two weeks.

It strikes me every so often that Texas being an equally dry place, the Darwin family is not prepared for an unexpected two week period without water. On the bright side, we also have no tendency towards earthquakes and other major natural disasters. At most, we have the very occasional tornado, but that kind of disaster is concentrated and short lived.

Living as we do in large cities that rely entirely on transportation technology and city water and electric systems to make life sustainable, there is simply a limit to how prepared (for anything other than a world in which those things work) one may be. And generally, we compensate for that by thinking people who get themselves overly prepared for unlikely eventualities as a bit odd, or in extreme cases, crazy. Given that sanity is at least in part one's ability to address oneself to the situation at hand, perhaps the most extreme versions of preparedness are some sort of insanity by a certain standard.


Kyle R. Cupp said...

How'd ya'll react to the pending threat of Y2K?

Darwin said...

Nothing in particular, aside from the fairly constant water cache at the ancestral home. (I can't recall if I was home for Y2k or in Ohio working.)

Didn't really expect anything to happen, though.