What would you take with you if you were evacuated?

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.
  • Flash­light
  • 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?

The Banned Books

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):

The Bible Huck­le­ber­ry Finn by Mark Twain Ara­bi­an Nights 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 Popol Vuh 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 Koran 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 The Tal­mud 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.