This is an intriguing question, Alanna. Perhaps as a product of reading and watching all of this post-apocalyptic fiction, I have certainly thought about how to respond to these types of situations. In a world where people build safe rooms in their basement, how do you respond to a nuclear threat, an epidemic or pandemic, a Y2K tech crash, a zombie outbreak (assuming that such a thing is even possible), or humankind quickly devolving to a savage, tribal, survival of the fittest (or the most desperate)?
Our family certainly does not have emergency protocols beyond discussing how we would respond to a fire (navigating from the second floor if we were upstairs when the fire started to the first floor and out of our house). You mention the Facebook page with your cousin about Westminster. My brother lives in London and he immediately emailed our parents and myself that he was safe on the day of the attack (and his loved ones in London were safe), and he does so each time there is some sort of horrendous event, connected to terrorism or not.
I have to say that the reality would be (and I am getting quite hypothetical now) that I would drive the ten minutes from my school, take our boys out of their school and meet my wife at our home, take everything we could in both of our vehicles and head out of the more populated area where we live in (a subdivision in a town) to my parent's property 15 minutes away where they have a generator and two relatively large and new camping trailers. Acquiring as much water, food and gasoline (and maybe some of those good books we all mentioned previously) would be a goal as we headed over. From that point on it would be determining how safe we would be there or whether heading to some nebulous place north would be safer.
I am sure I have revealed some interesting things about myself here. One thing that separates Station Eleven from so many other post-apocalyptic novels is the speed in which society deteriorates, the realistic depiction of the fall of civilization and the understated way events are described.
And you didn't once mention stockpiling weapons of any sort!
When tk1ng and I lived in Japan, North Korea was always showing off by launching a missile above our heads. Our plan was to meet at the American military base named Misawa on the opposite side of the big island Honshu if we should ever get separated.
Do you remember when the electricity went out for about 36 hours all across the Eastern part of Canada and the U.S. in about 2002? That's one of the closest times I've felt anything akin to an apocalypse. We were living in Mississauga at the time and we heated up some canned chili over a tealight. We'd go down to the car in our parking garage every few hours to listen to the radio. Eventually someone started playing the saxophone outside of our window. It was kind of nice, actually.
After writing that entry I was wondering how sane or paranoid I sounded. It is interesting that weapons definitely did not even come to mind. May be a product of living in this country, as opposed to the one immediately south.
I don't remember the blackout (don't know why) but I did live in South Korea for a while (and got married there). Practicing air raid drills where we would have to hide in specific buildings and knowing that the country was technically still at war was surreal. My parents visited the DMZ (demilitarized zone), complete with landmines, speakers issuing propaganda and a North Korean and South Korean soldier facing each other in the same shared building (standing almost like unblinking statues).
A horrible and bizarre story while I was over there was that a small (and older) NK submarine was caught in the fishing nets of SK fishing boats. Rather than subject themselves to questioning the spies/soldiers aboard themselves ended their lives. It seemed both tragic and pathetic at the time.
I have a number of acquaintances who stockpile goods and most of them are handy with hunting weapons too. Like you, my plan would be to get as far away from urban populations as possible.
I'm trying to think of when that blackout would have been (I do this from time to time without the use of Google). Eventually I succumb to knowing the answer rather than feeling prideful about my memory..... It turns out it was 2003. Maybe that's when you were overseas?
This is a twist of fate, Derrick. I too witnessed a suicide that at the time I thought of as sad and pathetic. A student of mine was caught cheating on an English test. Rather than deal with the shame of bringing that news home to her parents, she laid down her backpack and shoes and jumped in front of a train. I had so much difficulty bringing myself to accept this and while the Japanese people around me were also upset, they had a quiet acceptance of it. It was one of the greatest moments of my culture shock there. I began to see the nobility of suicide in many elements of Japanese culture and how much they admire and honour the brevity of life.
3. We learn very quickly in the book that an epidemic is spreading. This reminds me of an event this week when my cousin Neil marked his status as "safe" during the attack in Westminster on his Facebook page. Do you have any emergency protocols for you and your loved ones?