Survival in Suburbia

Have you seen or read the Alone in the Wilderness story? It is about Dick Proenneke who retired in 1967 and decided to build a log cabin in Alaska.  He lived alone in the log cabin for 30 years.  His only companionship was the wildlife thumping and scurrying by each day and frigid night.  My smallest child watched the entire PBS special last year.  She was amazed by the fact that he never went to the grocery store.  From time to time, he sent his friend, Babe, to procure some food items and building materials.  Other than that, he lived off of the land.

As day three of the official Georgia “snow-in” begins, I think of Dick in his cabin.  What would he do if he were stuck in Suburbia?

I thought of the pictures of the grocery section of Target my friend posted on FB:

Apparently, there was a mad rush for bananas, onions, and all bread (except for pumpernickel and rye).  I guess in our fear of starvation, we can’t ignore our taste preferences.  It also made me wonder if there is some amazing recipe that calls for those ingredients.  Banana and onion casserole with a breaded topping?

Yes, I spent much time at the grocery store on Sunday afternoon.  I could not find bananas.  I don’t even like bananas.  But as soon as I saw there were none, it became a quest of some sort.   When I began asking around, no one I knew was able to find bananas.  But, someone has to have them!

I remember when my mother-in-law lived with us.  She had a banana obsession.  She would easily buy two huge bunches so we wouldn’t run out.  One bunch was green and the other would have to be ripe and ready to eat.  My theory is that the elderly community has bought them all.  That is the only hypothesis that makes sense.  See, I have all of this time on my hands and I must have answers!

My teacher friends and I are now complacent in the potential of having to make up 5 days.   The roads keep icing over and the temperatures won’t give us a good chance of a thaw until Friday afternoon.  So what do we do?  I got an email from, The Avenue, our local outside mall.  It told me they were closed so basically, I can’t go shopping.  My gym emailed me and encouraged my  not to drive on the icy roads. Nothing. We do nothing.

The most resourceful nothing-doers are the teenagers.  I’m amazed at the ready-made adventures they create on a mere moment’s notice.  They sled, walk, take pictures, download 42 movies on Netflix (and watch them all), and make every conceivable sweet, baked item left in the house.  I am waiting for them to find the Halloween cupcake mix that sits lonely and unloved in our pantry.  I believe they could all survive on a remote island with only a Dance Party Wii game and cheese and crackers to keep them alive.  They don’t even need to shower while they are stuck in suburbia.

The even smaller people must be dragged in from the wilderness.  They have this Dick Proenneke-like tenacity to build the perfect snow walls, houses, etc…  I thought my neighbor’s child was  fending off a grizzly yesterday as she searched for sticks and other natural building materials.  They tried with all of their might to sled on a trash can lid.  I took one step outside, felt the wind whipping in my face and went back in.

I believe my unease has been in the uncertainty of the days.  So, like Dick, I’ll take each day as it comes.  The snow will thaw and we will be back to our routines.   I’m learning that each minute in our lives cannot be planned.  When I let the stress and worry go, life happens.  Suddenly the impromptu pizza parties and neighborly visits occur!  Unplanned fun…what a thought.

When my control freak rears her nosy little head, I ignore her.  She isn’t happy when I do this. I tell her not to worry, she will have plenty to do next week.

Enjoy the day.

K

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