The media sites of the Internet – making money by frightening the wits out of people – are filling up with tips for safety and survival as the Storm From Hell heads up the Coast. Many news organizations are calling this storm "Frankenstorm," not realizing that Mary Shelly would consider them a freak and thoughtless misuse of technology, not a weather system. This morning, I saw warnings for diabetics to stock up on weeks of medication and for dog lovers to rush to vets and get a month's worth of pills. These among hundreds of other warnings and alarms.
People should do what they need to do, but I am throwing up on the Internet a survival guide of my.
- First, don't wait for the storm to knock your power out. Turn off your computers, cable news channels and smart phones right now. Conserve both power and sanity. By now, we all know pretty much where the storm is heading and what it might do. No need to revisit this a hundred times a day in text messages, graphic videos and hysterical announcements. We get it. Let them sell generators ads some other time.
- Put your rifle away and get a bottle of wine instead. It is safer and far more useful in a storm. As the wind howls and the rain pours, light some candles, and drink the wine.
- Be careful who you listen to. There is no money in good and reassuring news, only freaks and socialists want to hear it, and politicians are much more afraid of getting second-guessed than being honest or useful. If you know an old farmer, go and ask him what might happen. That's what I did this morning, and I got this forecast: "rain and wind. We will all be here on Thursday. If you need food, go to a neighbor's house or call your mother-in-law."
- Stock Up: We made our emergency preparedness run at Stannard's Farm Market Saturday. We got a bag full of apples, five bottles of AquaFina water and some cashew nuts. We will much our way right through Armageddon. (We did fill all of our water buckets, got several days of water for the animals.)
- Have someone to cuddle with, essential in a storm. If there are no people around, get a dog ready. Rush out and buy a kitten or a puppy from a shelter. You won't even notice the storm. If you have a donkey, go out in the night and talk to them. They've been through this before.
- In addition to batteries, generators, bullets and medications, charge up your Kindle. Rush to the bookstore and get some books as well as bread. Make sure your Ipod is fully charged. Honestly, there are worse things in the world than being in the dark for a bit, if it comes that. You can talk to your spouse, your kids, walk around the neighborhood, help people out, read up a storm and listen to great music. Everything is a gift and in our culture there are a lot worse things than having the power go off. Like having it on all day and night.
- Calm yourself. Get your meditation beads ready, put them by the flashlight. Have snacks for the dogs. Bring in firewood. And look on the bright side. If the power goes off, you won't have to listen to these people yelling at you through their screens, telling you all day long how much danger you are in, and all of the mostly dumb things you need to do to prepare. Fear is not a gift, it is a disease.
If fear is a geography, storm are even more so. Another space to cross. In our world, fear is a marketing tool, not a public service. Be prepared for it. It is dangerous.