A few months ago we had a hurricane. The weathermen were predicting that it would be a historic storm of epic proportions, the likes of which hadn't been seen since the 19th century, and that everyone should prepare by buying the essentials. And to fill up the bathtub, even though I have yet to find a satisfactory answer as to why I am supposed to fill up my bathtub.
Unfortunately the entire Metropolitan DC area is told these things every time (and it happens several times a year) any sort of weather event happens, and as often as not, you are left with all these things you bought for a disaster that never happened. The strangest thing about this entire phenomenon is that the residents of Metropolitan DC usually take the weathermen's warnings extremely seriously, never thinking that perhaps this time the weather experts are actually playing with us, like the boy who cried wolf. At the first sound of danger, everyone rushes to the store in order to buy water and sliced bread.
But I am a product of the Y2K generation. I remember the panic and subsequent disappointment when the clock struck midnight and the lights stayed on. I also remember some family friends who hoarded enough beans to last the next decade in their basement which had been converted into a bunker. Y2K is still a sore point for them. With such a strong example as the Y2K beans, I simply can't bring myself to buy the boring kind of food that they tell you to buy in case of emergencies.
The truth of the matter is that prepackaged nonperishable food is the cockroach of the grocery store. Sure, it lasts forever and you can eat it without a working kitchen, but you won't enjoy it and will most likely become sick afterwards by candlelight in your bathroom. It's the most depressing kind of grocery shopping one can do, and the thought of eating this most depressing food in the dark while a storm rages outside is not exactly an inspiring thought. I feel that the best and most economical way to prepare for outages is to make a list in your head of the things that will spoil fastest and then eat accordingly. So, when the power goes out, I reach for the ice cream. And what's more, I feel good about doing it. Waste not, want not. And since this hurricane, just as all its sisters and brothers have done in the past, completely bypassed DC in its fervor to head north, I won't be rushing to the grocery store next time the weathermen predict an imminent disaster.