Since hurricane season begins Friday, Dilettante thought it might be time to share the tips that have seen me through various weather “events” over the years. Print this up and tape it to the inside of your bathroom cabinet in case of emergency.
– If you are faced with an imminent flood, tornado, hurricane or other natural disaster, the first thing you must do is pick a fight with your spouse or roommate. At some point during the weather event you’ll probably be without power – meaning no TV or internet – so you’ll need something to occupy your time.
– If you manage not to lose your electricity (or have a generator because you’re a militia member), make sure you watch the Weather Channel. When Hurricane Rita was swirling our direction, the Weather Channel didn’t change the tone of its music to reflect the utter scariness of the storm. Nothing like bringing in all the plants and lawn furniture and pausing, arms full, next to the television to see the massive red and yellow satellite image of a storm that is bigger than Texas spinning ominously in the Gulf to the sounds of light jazz.
– If you have a canoe or other form of water transport, take your kids out for some fun in the flood. It’ll be like a mini-vacation. Have plenty of antibiotics on hand for the inevitable full-body rash or intestinal disorder that’s sure to follow.
– If your car floats down the freeway, sideways, take a picture to send out with your next holiday card. Inside the card write something breezy such as, “Oh well, it was dirty anyway.” Impress friends and family with your ability to overcome any obstacle with a cheery disposition. Do this before your insurance agent tells you that acts of God are not covered in your policy.
– If your phone is working and someone from out of town calls to check up on you during some particularly heavy rainfall, ask them if they know when you’ll be getting more of “the wet stuff.” Actually, only refer to the bucketfuls of rain being dumped on the city as “the wet stuff” for the entire weather event. If things with your spouse/roommate aren’t bad yet, these words said over and over in a singsong lilt will be sure to do finish the job.
– If you hear the sound of a train outside, that’s probably a tornado. Unless you live next to railroad tracks, in which case you need to determine if it’s a train or a tornado so you can prepare appropriately. If it’s dark outside and raining so hard you can’t see past your own ghostly reflection in the window, go stand on the tracks. You’ll be able to feel the vibration of a coming train through your shoes. If no train is coming, run back to the house and seek shelter in the safest interior room, excluding any room that features your spouse/roommate. That would just be awkward.
– If you’re considering evacuating town when the authorities tell you to do so, stand on one end of your living room and run as fast as you can across the room. When you reach the other side, ram your head into the wall. Hopefully that will knock some sense into you, and you’ll keep the car in the garage.
– If you don’t have the necessary hunker-down supplies on hand, go to Spec’s. When Hurricane Rita was just hours from landing and most businesses had closed their doors and nailed large planks of plywood over their windows, Spec’s on Smith Street was open for business. If the storm has a fortunate name like “Rita,” you can go thematic. We could wait for years before Hurricane Red Stripe arrives, however, so in the interim here’s your generic shopping list: booze, crunchy snacks, fruit, deck of cards, candles, bottled water, cured meat, crusty bread and chocolate. These items will see you through anything. Plus they’ll still be useful when the skies have cleared, unlike all those batteries you bought.[This column originally appeared in its entirety on Houstonist.]