Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Disaster Management

Following on from my Pushchair Paranoia post back in March you might like to know that my anxieties have moved up a notch, Condition orange has over night become condition red (and yes, Red Dwarf fans, this has meant changing the bulb).

Suddenly I’m finding myself imagining the wildest of disaster scenarios and speculating on what would be the best way of dealing with them in order to ensure (first and foremost) the survival of my kids and (ideally) myself as well if I can manage it.

Take a recent bus journey to school that I undertook with my boys. What if a stricken Boeing 747 (engine failure perhaps or terrorist attack or even a dipsomaniac pilot at the wheel) suddenly dropped out of the sky, wings aflame, and smashed to earth just a few blocks away from where the bus was waiting at a red light? What would I do?

I decided I’d have to yell to the eldest, Ben, to kneel face down on the floor, close his eyes and cover his ears thus protecting his eyes from the shattering glass and his ears from the noise as I leap across Tom in his pushchair and put my own hands over his ears to facilitate the same. I’d just have to hope that my own eardrums could take the noise of the impact.

Yeah. That would work. Job done.

On a recent jaunt around town with my family I found myself wondering what would we’d do if an insane sniper had holed himself up in the Parish Church clock tower and was taking pot-shots at the good people of Leamington Spa as they went about their daily bread. How would we get home safely? I found myself triangulating the sniper’s field of vision and plotting alternative routes to get us out of the danger zone and home safely whilst allowing for the fact that Tom was in a pushchair and Ben is mildly asthmatic.

I was pretty inventive too. My safe route involved utilizing the backdoor of a couple of shops and using the local topography to afford us effective cover and continually keep us out of the sniper’s vengeful sights for the duration of the journey home.

I ought to be employed by the MoD.

But this isn’t really normal, is it?

Do I have a problem, do you think? Why is my mind pushing such outlandish disaster fantasies to the forefront of my brain when I could just as easily be ruminating on Keeley Hawes’ cup size? I mean it’s not like I don’t have other more salient issues to worry about at the moment.

Do I need help?

Or am I just following the Boy Scout’s admirable code of always being prepared?


Anonymous said...

Lmao, I think your normal, or I hope you are cos I'm the same, I can be queueing in the bank and plot an escape plan should someone suddenly whip out a knife, pointing out exits to the kids!
The film Titanic slays me because I know I cannot hold onto all 4 at once, how would I chose?
I think it just comes with the territory and as long as we don't actually stop leading normal lives from fear, we are not actually insane.

Steve said...

That's a relief to know, Missbehaving... I'm glad I'm not the only one!

Deirdre said...

No, you are quite normal in my book...even though we wanted lots and lots of kids we were only blessed with two - and my husband would sometimes cheer me up if I was broody by saying that if something terrible happened then two was the perfect number as we could each pick one up and run!!
Don't let the fear make you alter your life though..just roll with it and have faith...

The Joined up Cook said...

I've been in the same club too.

In my mind it is the normal behaviour of a parent who has imagination.

I'll give you my example to have a giggle at.

Years ago I never had vertigo. I acquired this affliction in my early thirties when the children were young; six and eight.

We were on holiday in Wales and looking around Harlech castle. It's an impressive place and quite complete. With very high walls. Up on the ramparts the kids were running around with abandon and I got very jittery; the retaining wall preventing anyone from falling over seemed low. It wasn't that low but lower than on any other castles I'd been to and when I looked over the drop went down to the base of the wall and then on down....and down.....and down....to the sea. Or so it seemed to me. It made me dizzy.

After that I was like Mel Brookes in 'High Anxiety'; buttocks clinging to the opposite wall - only there wasn't one so my sphincter was working overtime instead.

I imagined them getting carried away and climbing over and falling etc etc and corralled them off quickly after that.

I've had vertigo since that day.

Steve said...

Deirdre: you are quite right about 2 being the optimum number (hence Missbehaving's Titanic reference above, I guess). Karen and I just have 2 and they, believe me, in the nicest way possible, are more than enough!

AWB: I've been to Harlech myself and know the walls of which you speak. Funnily enough Karen had a similar experience in Wales when Ben was only 4 or 5 - running with abandon around Castel y Bere and refusing to come to heel despite there being some terrifying drops among the ruins.

Owen said...

Hi Steve, you are definitely going bonkers ! Was this before or after you mentioned "Pennywise" the other day ??? :-D

Just kidding ! I think anyone with even a quarter of the wonderful imagination you have (re: combine harvester incident letter) cannot help, especially in this day and age of disaster oriented press stories, to run scenarios through one's mind. I was driving down the road on the way home from work today, and saw a large truck coming the other way, and started thinking, "oh boy, what do I do if his front tire blows out and he comes careening across the road at me... where's my escape path? How will my wife and daughters get by without me if I'm crushed by this monster lorry ?" And then he sailed on by and I quickly forgot about it... Maybe we're both losing it ? Must be all this blogging, turning our minds to mush...oh no... I'm back in the Mudpond of the M words ! Help !!!

Steve said...

Owen, you are (naturally) quite right I'm sure... a little bit of imagination can go a long way and never ever shuts itself off. I can't go to the bank without imagining what I'd do if armed blaggers burst in... now I may have to possibly add armed bloggers to the list. That's a different scenario altogether: put the money in the bag or we'll leave you some nasty comments on your post! Hmm. You know that just might work and solve all my money worries!


With 2 children I am impressed with your ability to imagine anything!
Most days my VERY active 8 year old has exhausted me so much I can barely conjure up ideas for what to have for tea let alone calculate what to do in am emergency apart from put your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye!

Steve said...

Ally, have no fear - I shall compile all my findings and research into coping with outlandish disasters into a book and send you a copy! ;-)

The Sagittarian said...

Hi Steve, I have just come back from the North Island and during my travels managed to convince my boss that we should really go and check out the street where ther ecent shooting took place (in one of my last blog notes...) ANYWAY, I dunno why I did that because since I witnessed the terrain myself and instead of via the TV I keep seeing gunmen everywhere and imagine my escapes and so on.
We can be asurred of a seat on the special bus but we're also in the best company going by other comments! I think the key would be to try and not let your kids "feel" your anxiety.

Steve said...

I doubt my kids pick up on it, Amanda, being chock full of their own wild imaginings - the eldest fighting Sith agents up and down the High Street and the younger one going to tea with Bob The Builder.

I'm sure their imaginings are a lot more fun!

Anonymous said...

Can I get back in, to sort of hijack in a ( sort of ) relevent way?
I have a good friend, an American woman. Somehow in the early 1940s her mother managed to secure passage to the US , her father survived the Holocaust because neighbours hid him in a cupboard for over 2 years. Horrific, yes!, However, my friend defines herself as a 'second generation Holocaust Survivor', because the way she and her brother were raised was directly related to their parents surviving. Their parents never moved on. They purposely only had 2 kids because you can only carry 2
( one each), they were never allowed ever to complain about anything, because they ( the kids) knew nothing about hardship/suffering/fear.
To cut a long story short, her parents in some ways never really escaped, they lived in and with that fear all their lives and made sure they passed all of that onto their kids.
That is powerlessness.
When we go through scenarios of how we would remove our children from dangerous situations, however silly they look, it's just a way of empowering ourselves, almost assuring ourselves ( in what to be honest sometimes feels like a random and hostile world) that should danger strike, we'd be able
to secure our loved ones safety.

Steve said...

Missbehaving: feel free to hijack all you like (memo to self: must come up with a plan to escape from a hijacking if ever one occurs in real life...). I guess it goes to show that certain fears and anxieties are inevitably passed down to our children if they modify the behaviour of the parents. Two is always a good number anyway - purely from a supervisory perspective it's easier to assign one child to one parent on days out. Lord knows how my parents coped with three of us running amock!

KAZ said...

"I ought to be employed by the MoD".
Great - you were looking for a new job.
Just make sure they give you a flak jacket.

Suburbia said...

I go through phases of worrying like that, though not snippers and aircraft (too blokey!) more floods and pestilence!

I have to talk myself back being sensible. And then I have periods of calm ;)