The coverage last month of the fires in Southern California included several stories of people being evacuated with just a few minutes notice. Invariably, something was left behind. It got me thinking.
If I had a fifteen minutes to pack before being evacuated, what would I take with me? We have two cars, and I am assuming we would be allowed to take both. First thing I’d do is strap the kids into their car seats, each with a coat from the coatrack. With them out of the way, I’d send the wife to throw clothing into our luggage, and I’d shout after her to not forget the diapers. Oy, do not forget the diapers. While she is upstairs, I’d busy myself with some of the intangibles.
Here’s the list I came up with:
- Clothes, mostly dumped wholesale from drawers into luggage.
- Medicine, conveniently in the hall closet in labeled bins.
- Diapers. A cot farm in the Astrodome is not the place to begin potty-training.
- Cell phone chargers. So many people in the San Diego area forgot to take their chargers with them, and had to beg for a charger from the Red Cross, or from their neighbors on the next cot. A place to plug them in is another problem.
- My laptop and the NAS. The NAS (network attached storage device) is nice and compact, and has all of our data on it. Pictures, movies, music, documents, everything. The NAS would be a priority over the laptop, actually.
- Dog. I don’t care if they wouldn’t let me in to the shelter/Astrodome/Red Cross tent camp with my dog, I would not leave him behind. I’ll sleep in the car with him before leaving him to fend for himself. Dog food. Leash.
- Our document safe… if we had one. We’ve talked about getting one, just haven’t pulled the trigger on it. Probably should.
- The still-unopened-from-our-move box labeled, “Memories” which has letters and un-scanned photographs and stuff.
- Photo albums (there are only about four or five)
- The Bag
- Passports, which should normally live in the document safe, eh?
And I think that’s it. There’s an endless supply of stuff I could be enticed to bring along, from artwork to books to electronics, and some of it might be useful for barter in the post-civilization era, but I am assuming we’d get back to our (burned-out-shell-of-a?) house eventually. If I had time to dig through our storage I might try to bring sleeping bags or ponchos or blankets or something more along the survival line, but with only fifteen minutes I think my time would be tapped out with the list above.
What would you bring?
Okay, I’m game. But true to my penchant, I’ve re-ordered things a bit. Not sure what the original sort was (most banned, maybe) but I think this order is useful, too.
I’ve read these and remember them well (8 out of 110):
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Almost all of these are books I read in High School, the exception being the Little House books, which we owned, and I read when I was a pre-teen. Oh, and Catch-22, which I read on my own, but when I was a teenager.
I’ve read these, but so long ago I only remember them vaguely (16 of 110):
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer In Olde English
Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Ulysses by James Joyce
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
These are also mostly books I read because I was told to do so, usually by a teacher. A Separate Peace I remember as being one of my favorite books ever, and we had great fun with Canterbury Tales. The Bible, well, the Old Testament, we read in my senior AP English class (the year’s theme was “Hell”). Stranger in a Strange Land I read on my own, and the Origin of Species I did not read until college, as you would expect.
I would like to read these, someday (12 of 110):
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
This is an interesting bunch of books. Don Quixote, Oliver Twist, Sherlock Holmes, Western Front, Dr. Zhivago, and Cuckoo’s Nest are all works I know in another format (usually film). I am curious about the source material. Benjamin Franklin, Plath, Nabokov, and Vonnegut are authors I am interested in being exposed to. I know I like D.H. Lawrence, and I have a thing for Russian literature, apparently.
I’ve never heard of these, maybe I’d like them?
Essays by Michel de Montaigne
Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
Red and the Black by Stendhal
Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Diary by Samuel Pepys
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Red Pony by John Steinbeck
Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
Black Boy by Richard Wright
Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Institutes of the Christian Religion by Jean Calvin
Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
Sanctuary by William Faulkner
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines
Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
I’m not so much interested in these, alas. I am surely the poorer for it:
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Candide by Voltaire
Analects by Confucius
Dubliners by James Joyce
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Das Capital by Karl Marx
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus
Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
Color Purple by Alice Walker
Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Confessions by Jean Jacques Rousseau
Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler
Satyricon by Petronius
Metaphysics by Aristotle
General Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud
Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown
Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Emile Jean by Jacques Rousseau
Nana by Emile Zola
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
Lots of “things one should read” in this list, which raises my hackles even if it should not. I guess I just don’t have the time to struggle to form an opinion in the face of massive worldwide already formed opinions on these works. And some of them are dated, and some of them are just manifestos that probably don’t make good reading. Ah well.