Hurricane Irene has Aaron Gouveia imagining a post-storm zombie apocalypse where he kills his own food and protects his family.
I love impending natural disasters.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the devastation or the human suffering that occurs after a tornado, hurricane or noreaster. That would make me a real creep. Hell, I live in Cape Cod so I’m currently in the path of either Tropical Storm or Hurricane Irene. I could easily have a few “natural skylights” in my roof soon if I’m unlucky. So believe me, I don’t want to see anybody hurt or homeless.
I’m talking about the pre-storm stuff. You have to admit, there’s a certain electricity in the air just before a big storm hits.
In New England, meteorologists always tell us we’re getting slammed with a major hurricane about a week before it’s supposed to hit. As the weather forecasts come into focus and that “Cone of Death” graphic shifts east and west every few hours, we all play the “will it hit us or won’t it” game. And part of that game when a hurricane is bearing down on you, includes taking precautions.
Maybe it’s because Mother Nature is threatening us and our families. Or perhaps some ancient part of our Neanderthal DNA simply clicks into place and we go into “Protector Mode.” But whatever the cause, many guys (myself included) become obsessed with preparing for disaster.
We stock up on bread, water and non-perishables because power outages can last a week or longer and we need to keep everyone fed. Maybe we even buy a generator. We put pieces of plywood over our windows, keep a stockpile of batteries and flashlights handy and prepare for Armageddon.
Sometimes I have visions of our house being swallowed by the sea or shattered by the unrelenting wind. I picture me leading my family into the wilderness, left to survive on our own in the forest. We’d take shelter in my hastily made but efficient woodland fortress, which I somehow built using an elaborate system of homemade ropes and pulleys. I must hunt our food and kill wild animals, skin them and keep my family warm with their hides. We’ll live or die based on my cunning and survival instincts, not only weathering the storm but conquering it.
But not really.
Sure we’ll buy some water, bread and milk, but the only real suffering will be the hours we lose power and go without TV, Twitter and On-Demand programming. I might not be homeless and destitute once Irene is done thrashing us, but this thing is scheduled to hit on Sunday evening. Have you ever tried going without Sunday night programming? True Blood, Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Breaking Bad. You tell me how I’m supposed to cope with that kind of loss. And while some of our food might be spoiled, hunting and killing squirrels and other woodland creatures to sustain ourselves won’t be necessary. Never mind the fact that I can’t even tie a proper knot, so hunting wild game is pretty much out.
But still, it’s a curious phenomenon and—despite being destructive in nature—I think impending disasters actually bring people together. There’s a genuine sense of “we’re all in this together,” and for a few extraordinary hours we inevitably see a heightened sense of humanity. Neighbors taking in other neighbors in need. Townspeople checking on the elderly and those confined to their homes. Everyone lends a hand and it finally feels like we live in an actual community.
But once we get to the woods and the post-Hurricane zombie apocalypse occurs, it’s every man for himself.
Also: “Hurricane Irene: A Real Crisis” by Jackie Summers
All weekend long, provided we have electricity and/or an Internet connection, we’ll be posting photos and stories from the Good Men Project community during Hurricane Irene. Send your stories and your photos to email@example.com. And, please, be safe.
—Photo NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr