As part of my job, I have to think about things like emergency preparedness pretty regularly. Working in public buildings throughout the city, we do fire drills, and emergency evacuation plans, and earthquake preparedness. If anything were to happen to our city or in our buildings, we want to make sure we are all ready to deal, and also to help the thousands of patrons that come through our doors deal too. Emergency preparedness has become totally normalized in my world. For instance a couple of weeks ago I was sitting in a small conference room before the library opened, visiting with The Soggy Librarian. Chat, chat, chat. Then in the middle of our conversation a voice came over the loudspeaker saying that it was time for an Earthquake Drop and Cover Drill. She and I looked at each other, shrugged, and got under the table and just kept right on with our conversation until we got the all clear. That’s just how we do in Big City Libraryland.
One of the things that the Mayor’s Office asks all of us to do is to have an individual Emergency Preparedness kit at our offices. Water, snacks, stuff like that. Each work unit is also asked to think about particular challenges that we would face depending on where we work. If we work downtown, the likelihood that walking shoes might be needed in case public transportation or roads are not operating might be higher. If we work on the 10th floor and the power fails, we better make sure we have working flashlights. Stuff like that.
So now we have all of my library friends (aka Very Smart and Imaginative People) thinking about how to prepare for things if we had an earthquake.
Let me re-phrase so that I am being more true to what kind of people my friends are: we now have all of my library friends getting themselves prepared, in exquisite detail, for a zombie apocalypse.
I am not kidding. We have made emergency preparedness into some sort of weird end-of-times game where we figure out what we would need to do if the zombies come. And the planning is elaborate. My friends know where the best hiding spots in the buildings are. They know where they would hide their food. They have decided which books are going to be burned for warmth first. They have identified which entrances the zombies are likely to break into and how to shore up those weak spots with heavy desks. They have located which duct openings are easiest to get to in case they have to escape that way. It has all been discussed and planned for.
The most important thing about apocalyptic zombie planning, though, is teams. Because when the shit goes down, you want people on your team that can help you survive. NO SLACKERS! NO DEAD WEIGHT!
My friends will leave your ass in a heartbeat if you can’t help their brains stay uneaten.
This, thus far, has been a problem for me. Why? No one wants me on their team! Can you believe that shit? I am delightful! I am funny! I have cute clothings! And I know pop culture facts, like that Claudette Colbert was the first lady to do the bit where she hitchhikes by showing her leg!
But unluckily for me, none of those things are survival skills. You never see any of those weird survivalist cult people trying to be delightful or smartly dressed, do you? Cormac McCarthy didn’t have the father telling Who’s the Boss summaries to the son in The Road, did he? There’s a reason for that.
Here is my saving grace, however. I HAVE NORDIC BOY.
Nordic Boy is heavily coveted when it comes to survivalist zombie planning. Unlike many of my urbane friends, his survivalist resume almost could not be more perfect. He can build anything, out of anything, first of all. And he doesn’t need power tools to do it- he’s got handcrafty skills. He also has engineering skills. He can weld and do other metalwork, and work with electricity, and from his childhood, he knows his way around subsistence farming too. He knows how to sew. And the list goes on. Truly, he is the gold standard for when the world ends.
So whenever we are at a party and this topic comes up (and yes, my friends talk about this at parties, often), people start wooing Nordic Boy. Without fail.
And my sweet Nordic Boy always has the same answer. “I’ll be on your team, but this one [me] comes with me.”
Take THAT, my friends. I have a ticket on the Nordic Boy zombie-apocalypse gravy train! He will not be on your team unless I COME TOO.
My friends sometimes argue this point. She’ll just slow us down! they say. But he insists. Sometimes they try to work with me. Do you know how to do anything that can help? And I think, and think, but nope. I don’t really know how to do anything to help. But no matter. Nordic Boy and I are a package deal.
This tactic has held me in good stead for a few years now. Until recently, when you know what two of my friends said to each other, right in front of my face?
“Well, I guess she can come. And who knows, we might run out of food at some point, and if one of us has to be eaten, better to have someone like her around. We wouldn’t lose anything vital if she had to be dinner.”
Ever since then, no one has argued against my being on their team. Harsh!
On the upside, I guess I can add “looks kind of tasty” to my apocalypse resume.