Sunday, July 27, 2014
Hatching a plan, of sorts
We live about a block from the railroad tracks—really as close as a person wants his house to be. Very convenient when it comes to walking to the train station, which is maybe a block and a half away. Close enough that, as long as the bells aren't actually ringing when I leave the house, I know I'll make it at a brisk stroll. Though a heavy freight train can rattle our windows, I think that is more a function of dry, ancient window frames.
Heading to the dry cleaners Saturday morning—we're also close to downtown, and I like to walk on errands— I waited while these ominous black tanker cars rumbled by, with their red "FLAMMABLE" diamonds, and thought about the derailment in Slinger, Wisconsin last Sunday. Nobody was hurt, but 4,000 gallons of fuel spilled, and 100 nearby residents were evacuated, for their own safety, while they cleaned it up.
I've thought, over the years, we should have some kind of emergency plan, a bug-out bag ready to go when I hear the defending crash and see the fireball swirling up into the sky a block east. But then I try to think what would be in that bag. A change of clothes? A few bottles of water. Power bars. Money. Socks.
It seems so trivial. And then the bag would sit there, taking up room, caution incarnate. And then, should a train accident happen, which it won't, we wouldn't be home, or we'd grab the dog, pile in the car and bolt, forgetting the bag. They sell clothes in plenty of places, and power bars, and bottles of water too. Heck, the Red Cross would give those out. As long I had my wallet—which wouldn't be a in the bug-out bag anyway—we'd all be okay wherever we went. Slap down the Mastercard. Send the bill to the Canadian National Railway. A true blessing. Trying to take plan to take the sting out of any future happenstance, well, it seems like gilding the lilly. So we'll take our chances, unprepared.
Which I suppose is a plan of sorts. A plan not to have a plan. An acknowledgement that Fate will toss her dice and our little bag won't help us. We plan so we feel we have a bit of control over events that we really have no control over at all. Our plan is to understand that.