When I was a newlywed and in my final year of college I did an internship at the state mental hospital. Once or twice during my internship we had to do these emergency drills where we all had to pretend we had an earthquake, or there was a nuclear holocaust, or some other such fun event. We had to go to our posts and pretend that we were doing the particular duty we had been assigned. Usually Dave from the janitorial staff had to pretend he was dead from a bonk on the head and we all had to figure out how we could survive with out him. If I remember correctly I usually had to stand by one of the unit doors and make sure that none of the residents went for a “stroll” during the good times. I remember thinking to myself, “If this were really a true emergency I would be high tailing it for home right now!” I was not sticking around the looney bin when all hell was breaking loose in the valley below.
That was about 10 years ago and my life has changed quite a bit. One thing hasn’t changed though, I was a day dreamer then and I will be to my dying day. Just the other day I was thinking about those emergency drills and wondering how I would handle a true emergency in my current state of life. Now the picture in your mind should start getting wavy and you should be hearing a doodloo, doodlooo noise in your head.
There I am in my house doing laundry, filling sippy cups, the usual daily chores and I hear a loud BANG! BANG! BANG! at my door. Sheesh, who is the rude person knocking at my door. I huff over to the door, swing it open, crusty look upon my face and there stands the sheriff. “What is the matter with you lady? Haven’t you seen any of the emergency broadcast system messages on the t.v.? Don’t you realize this part of the county has to evacuate now?” he yells in frustration.
“What?” I sputter. “Evacuate, why?”
“Oh for the love of Pete. Don’t you pay attention to anything around you?” Suddenly the landscape beyond comes into focus, the sky is the color of a pumpkin and there are several plumes of black smoke in the distance. Then I see something strange in the distance. “What the heck?” I mutter. “Yeah lady, they’re exactly what you think they are big, giant, robot ALIENS!” the sheriff shouts. “You need to get your family and get out now.” He then runs to the next house of numbskulls and bangs on their door.
“Ok, be calm, be calm,” I tell myself. “Honey!” I yell to my working-from-home-husband, thank goodness for that. He doesn’t answer and I don’t stop to wait. “Kids, mommy needs your help, please come quickly.” I run back into the house looking for my children and I see my oldest right away. “Ok, sweety go into your room and grab a change of clothes and your pajamas and throw them into your back pack, we need to leave the house right away.’
“Giant robot aliens are attacking the countryside and we have to leave before they get to our neighborhood.”
“Giant aliens, why would giant aliens attack our house? What kind of aliens? How are they attacking our house? Do you think smaller aliens are in the big robot aliens controlling them? I wonder what the small aliens look like? Do you think they look like us? Do you think they might look like monsters? When do you think they’ll get here? Do you think we’ll get to see what they look like? Hey can I have a soda?” finally Sam takes a breath.
“I don’t know honey,” I can hear the impatience in my voice. “We don’t have time to question right now, we just have to go, honey. “Now where is your sister and brother?” I continue running through the house looking for my other kids. Ok, be calm, yes I see Erin in her room listening to Daddy’s ipod and singing a long and shaking her little keister to the beat. “Erin, Erin,” I shout. Oh just great, she can’t hear me over the music and her loud singing.
‘WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? WHERE DID YOU GO? WHERE DID YOU COME FROM COTTON-EYED JOE? YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!” she chants.
“Erin, there are aliens coming to attack us. I need you to pack some clothes in your suitcase so we can leave as soon as possible. I also need you to go tell daddy to bring up the 72 hour kits.” I quickly inform her.
“What, why do I always have to go and get daddy? How come Sam never has to get daddy?” she questions.
“Just go pack and get your father,” I shout.
I run to my son’s room and start throwing clothes in a backpack for him. He wanders in and starts whining, “Not those pajamas, I hate those pajamas.” I ignore him and keep shoving at which points he throws himself on the ground, arms and legs going, and lets loose with the pterodactyl scream. “What ever,” I think to myself. Next I run over to the stairs and shout to my husband (I think Erin is still deciding which pajamas to pack) and yell, “Honey, I need your help up here!”
“I’m working right now, I can’t come and help you!” I can hear the frustration in his voice.
“I think you should quit working hon, there are aliens attacking the countryside right now and we really need to leave,” I yell up to him, I can hear the hysteria in my voice.
Geoff comes flying down the stairs, I direct him toward the 72 hour kits and ask him to pack some clothes for us. He disappears and I head to the baby’s room, scoop her out of her crib, and head for the door. Oh crap! Literally! She’s got a poopy diaper and this baby has the most sensitive skin. You can’t leave her in dirty diaper for even a minute or she’ll get the worst rash. I have to change her. It’s the fastest change job in the west and we’re headed out to the car where I see my able husband has loaded up the rest of the family. I can hear my son screaming, “I want my lighty shoes! I want my lighty shoes!” I jump in the car, my husband throws it in reverse. Suddenly he slams and the brakes and asks, “Where are my sunglasses? Dang it! I’ll be right back.” He runs to the other car, whips open the door, bends down into the car, and a few very long seconds later he stands up and jogs back to the car. As we’re headed down the street I look back at my house and “BOOM!” a giant, alien, robot foot has smashed it to smithereens. “Drive faster,” I shout.
Later that evening, after we’ve been driving for hours, I’m not even sure where we are, somewhere out in the desert. We are huddled around a small campfire eating really old MREs. I haven’t had a chance to eat mine yet, I’ve been too busy getting everyone settled. As I sit down and tuck into my food my daughter looks at my food and says, “Hey, are you eating spaghetti? That’s way better than my chicken casserole. How come I got stuck with the nasty chicken casserole? Are you gonna eat it? Can I have the rest?”
Wearily I hand her the food and say, “You know what I’m not even hungry. Knock yourself out.” At least we were together when the aliens attacked and we’ll make it through what ever comes as a family.