For years, a decade maybe, my father has been hawking us to purchase a generator. He’s not a well man, emotionally, physically, financially; but the one thing he does have is a healthy dose of paranoia. I’ve been on the receiving end of countless battery packs, fire extinguishers, flares, safety kits, survival books (Want to know what to if a bear attacks?), walkie-talkies, flash lights, crank radios and all sort of protective paraphernalia. A few years ago, when moving him from one apartment to another, I found gas masks, a shotgun* and an actual oxygen machine. He had no idea how to use any it, but he just had to have it.
I don’t mind most of the stuff. I mean, who can argue band aids or batteries. I am just overly sensitive, and at the same time, desensitized to his obsessive paranoia. Hurricanes are coming. Terrorist attacks are coming. Okay. I believe as my grandmother did, “What will be, will be.” We were displaced for 10 days during Sandy. I’ll admit, I eyed the house across the street with the humming generator, but we were all fine – a little cold and inconvenienced, but fine. Actually, I thought the whole thing was a good bonding experience.
My father chides me for my complacency. For the bubble I choose to inflate around myself and my family. In his mind, devastation is right around the corner. This week he was right. Devastation. So close, I feel it tighten my chest, and start to swell into a mass of overwhelming emotion every time I give the thought a second to grow.
So I’ve made a conscious effort to not watch the news or read the papers. I don’t know if this is wrong, but when a headline passes my eye or, like this morning, when I caught a snippet on the radio while driving to the gym, I just lose it. I can’t even think about it. I really can’t.
There are now big, gaping holes in my bubble, and it threatens to collapse and suffocate me. I have always been keenly aware of the fragility of life. There are already so many things to worry about when we put our children and ourselves out into the world. This is just too much, because really, there is no protection from random acts of insanity. There are measures, there are steps, there is protocol. It all helps, and provides some sense of safety. Really though, we are all so vulnerable and exposed, and that is beyond frightening. All I can do is frantically patch the holes with hope and denial, hug my family tight, and pray that I never hear a pop.
A generator can’t offer my family any real protection, so I just don’t have the energy to care.
*After a huge battle with my father, the shotgun, along with a bunch of other stuff, was properly disposed of, but that’s another story.
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