My sister’s neighbor has a map of her own house in the kitchen with exit plans and signs directing family members on what to do in case of a fire, like you might see on the wall of your office building near the elevator like this…
|That elevator is not oozing sweet potatoes, Purple Lady. RUN AWAY!|
Living in my sister’s neighbor’s house are a Mrs., Mr. AND AN INFANT. Although I know fire departments would advise you to develop an exit plan, I imagine the Mr. and Mrs. could have had a short conversation about the exit plan and placed an oil painting of daisies where that exit plan hangs now. That plan will be great to go over and discuss with the child as she grows, but, right now, that baby will be waiting for the Mr. or Mrs.’ butt to get over there and scoop her the heck up so they can all escape. Infants are so lazy.
Thinking about this prepared family brought to mind my fear of danger and catastrophes as a child. Every night I would mention just about everyone I knew in a prayer for protection over them. I felt like if I didn’t mention someone’s name, that person wasn’t going to be protected and it would be all my dang fault.
|Bed picture from http://www.dabble.org/|
I was so afraid of fires that I slept with a bag of things that I absolutely could not lose if there was a fire. I slept with the blasted bag every night. That fire thought he had me, but I HAD HIM! I’d kick that fire’s butt and escape with the material things that meant so much to me. That Brownie duffle bag was stuffed to the brim with favorite shirts, favorite books, my purple Mickey Mouse diary, my Cabbage Patch Kid named Kathleen Barbie by her dad, Xavier Wiggins, and probably some tapes featuring Whitney Houston, Cindi Lauper, Michael Jackson and the single to “Eye of the Tiger” (bum, bumbumbum, bumbumbum, bumbumbuuuuuuuuuuuuum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
The natural catastrophe that I feared the most was TORNADOES. I remember my mom and dad often telling me that if a tornado was approaching, it would sound a lot like a train coming down the street. There were many days when I told someone to hold the phone and listen…HEY, does that sound like a train?!?!?!??? (To which they would reply, “No. It’s the ice cream man.”)
The actual moment where the tornado hit the house was actually not what I feared the most. It was the bathtub. My parents told me that my dad, my mom, sister and I would all need to pile into the bathtub if we were to hear a tornado coming over for a visit and it wasn’t for a bath. Tornadoes don’t have eyes and don’t care if you’ve bathed! No, the bathtub was our hideout and THIS TERRIFIED ME.
Although I don’t remember my parents explicity stating how we would all fit in the bathtub, my vision was that the most vulnerable would be on the bottom of the pile and the least on the top, so that my sister, who is 4 years younger than me, would be on the bottom resembling a pancake that an 18-wheeler ran over, I would be next, my mom after that and my dad protecting all of us from flying debris while crushing all of the oxygen out of us at the top.
I am grateful that we never had to play the stuff-our-whole-family-in-the-ding-dang-bathtub-game-and-deny-bloodflow-to-all-the-vital-organs-to-every-family-member-except-the-dad-when-a-tornado-comes. My dad is heavy. He’s 6’3″!!
One thing is clear, though, my parents discussed emergency plans with us when we were young, but we didn’t have fire escape routes displayed promimently anywhere. I am totally slacking off in this department, too. I need to be fired.