Survive, How to.

My parents are planners. If we have somewhere to go, there is plan of action. Very rarely do we do “on the fly” activities where there isn’t a set plan of where we need to go and how we’re going to get there. This same spirit of planning applies to survival techniques. For instance, when Y2K approached, I distinctly remember our pantry becoming more full than usual with dried beans, canned squash, and crossword puzzles for entertainment. Granted, my parents aren’t exactly doomsdayers, but preparation and planning never hurt anybody, especially when potential millennial apocalypse or snow is in the question. In today’s case- snow.

Yesterday was Wednesday. We usually go to church on Wednesday nights, but my brother was running a fever and there was a threat of icy death on the horizon. As I’m eating my supper, Dad enters the kitchen and says “We’re booked.”

“Booked for what?”

“The hotel. Mom and I have to get to work tomorrow.”

So within two hours, we were in a hotel in the city about 30 minutes from where I live, and where my parents work. This is what we call in the Carey home as “planned spontaneity.” Apparently, there was a plan to escape the ice earlier, but it was hatched about an hour before we left. We stopped at Dollar General for important things like a deck of playing cards, and then made our way towards the hotel.

Once we arrived, my brother’s fever seemed to magically disappear for about an hour as we swam in the heated indoor pool. He offered his special “worst case scenario” game as we played, asking things like “What would you do if I was drowning?” or my favorite, “What if these windows exploded and all that cold air came in and we were stuck in the pool?” He then proceeded to inform me that he was going to baptize me, which is a nice way of saying “hold me under water.” I declined, and we eventually ended our swimming thinking to ourselves, “Who swims in December, anyway?”

Once we returned back to the room, my mother and I played cards while the men folk watched basketball.

“So the game’s called ’21’.” She said, explaining the rules. “But in the gambling world, it’s called Blackjack.” Thus, I was introduced to “21” or as the “gambling world” calls it Blackjack. Granted, I am a terrible card player. Though my family doesn’t think card playing leads to dancing and dancing leads to some type of sin, I just don’t have a lot of experience at the card table. Therefore, I lost.  A lot. If we were indeed playing for money, my mother would have walked away with what loose change I had on me and my socks. After about an hour trying my skill, I walked away, knowing that I still have a long way to go if I ever want to have some sort of card playing skill. I decided to sleep of my loss.

As a matter of fact, we are still in the hotel. My parents are at work, my brother is sleeping on the next bed, and I am blogging. Actually, my dad even offered a title for this post: “Are we really in a hotel or does Dad have a tumor?,” signifying that the only way Dad would do anything like this would be if he did indeed have a tumor that was blocking all logical thinkwaves. However, I think that “Survive, How to.” is quite appropriate. Though survival with snow includes extra cans of squash in the pantry and an electric generator, survival can also entail planned spontaneity, a heated pool, and the knowledge that you would probably lose in a Blackjack tournament.


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