02 December, 2008

Dep't of morbidity

Eremita, I recall, found it very weird that I would spend a not insignificant amount of my time contemplating my reaction to various unlikely disaster scenarios. For instance, as we were crossing the bridge one day, she asked me what I was thinking about. My response was to enumerate the four or five courses of action I had been developing if the bridge was either bombed or succumbed to structural deficiencies. This seems like a perfectly natural, as well as entertaining, exercise, but she found something at once silly and macabre about it.

Anyway, I see Jeffrey Golberg has done me better in this department, with six tips on "How to Stay Alive in a Terrorized Hotel":

3) Ask for a room on the 4th, 5th or 6th floors, unless you're reasonably sure the fire department in the city you're visiting doesn't have ladders that reach up to six. I try to be high enough to escape whatever chaos might occur on the ground floor, but not so high that I can't be reached. I'm always of two or three minds on this question; it's also not a bad idea to stay on a floor close enough to the ground that a jump will leave you with broken legs and nothing more.

Sounds like good advice. Someone must have been a Boy Scout!


Eremita said...

Ok, ok, maybe thinking about besieged hotels and bridge collapses ahead of time can save your life...but I hold my position on "what if tigers suddenly escaped from the zoo."

spencer said...

Eremita, recall that just last year a tiger escaped from the San Francisco Zoo, killed one person, and seriously injured two others.


"The Christmas Day attack occurred at closing time, when the tiger somehow got out of its enclosure -- one that included a surrounding moat and a 20-foot-high wall. Zoo officials said they had no idea how the tiger could have overcome the barriers, which meet all national standards for a safe tiger display."

Someone needs to rethink their assumptions!

Eremita said...

Oh, I remember that so my argument is not that it never happens. My argument is that your plan for that situation is not going to be different from your plan for meeting dangerous wild animals in general (a plan that it is VERY reasonable to have). Any thoughts on how it would actually be different?

Cassady said...

I don't find this exercise odd in the slightest.

For example: I frequently plan, into minutae, exactly what I would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse. What's more, I'm not alone in this practice! There are probably dozens of books written about this subject--one of which I'm reasonably confident is a best-seller.

Maybe it's the little boy in me, but I love saying to myself, "If that car suddenly flips over, or hits a landmine, or is vaporized by invading aliens, I'm going to veer off the right shoulder into that shallow ditch, roll from the car once I decellerate to around 10-15 mph, and make for the trees so as not to be immediately targeted. From there, I will travel the immediate countryside, gathering what weapons, supplies, and survivors I can, and we will work our way towards the nearest military base. We will follow a strict policy of remaining hidden during the day, travelling only at night--and of course the buddy system. Children will be taught not to cry. Food will be carefully rationed to maintain the strength of those most capable of carrying on the species. We must survive."

I don't think this is abnormal at all.

Elliot said...

As for the tigers, I would have to read up on what the unfortunate persons in question actually did and then try to learn from their mistakes. However, having studied the behavior of large cats in general for most of my life, I surmise that the appropriate response would probably involve a set of ivory-handled Colt revolvers.

Also, any thoughts on how one would become "reasonably sure the fire department in the city you're visiting doesn't have ladders that reach up to [floor] six"?

spencer said...

I'd bet La Crosse does not have such ladders.