But there’s more. 🙂 I remembered some more lessons from the 2020.
Probably the most important one is, never tell me “but what are the odds?” Yeah, what are the odds that there will be a global pandemic-induced hysteria, and that we’ll locally also have two major earthquakes on two separate fault systems, none of which would be the one that causes periodic earthquakes in Zagreb? In hindsight, the odds were 100%, and foresight is only quantified ignorance anyway.
Also, people tend to ridicule preppers, usually by prefacing the term with the attribute “doomsday”, as in “doomsday preppers”. Actually, doomsday is the only thing I’m not prepping for, because it’s pointless. If it’s doomsday, everybody dies and as far as I’m concerned it’s the best possible outcome, because fuck this place. You don’t prepare for doomsday, you prepare for the situation where there was a flood and water is not drinkable, and your house is rendered uninhabitable, or there was an earthquake and your apartment building was damaged, there’s no electricity and there’s a major gas leak. You prepare for a civil war where city block limits become the front lines and there’s sniper and mortar fire. If you think that’s unrealistic, you haven’t been in Croatia or Bosnia in the 1990s. I live here and it sounds very realistic. Also, I remember the power outages in the 1980s, the fuel shortages, and basically everything-shortages, plus hyperinflation of two different currencies in two different states. I get especially pissed off when I meet Croats who act as if such things are impossible and you’d have to be crazy to anticipate the possibility in your plans. As far as I’m concerned, they are the insanely gullible ones. This year I was one significant crack on the outer wall away from emergency evacuation and relocation, in which case I would have needed both my cash reserves, gold bullion, the redundancy of having two cars, and the precaution of having the necessary things in backpacks already. It was a very close shave, and although I’m very happy not to have needed it, having the option didn’t feel like very much of a luxury, or like overkill planning. It felt like just the right thing.
Another thing is, you don’t know what you’re preparing for. 2020 shows it’s possible to have more than one significant crisis at the same time, and not only that, they can also be completely unrelated. Also, you can have a crisis-cluster, in the sense that a civilizational crisis of identity and worldview can produce an economic crisis, a political crisis, mass hysteria, overreactions to actual threats that could have been dealt with in a more calm and rational manner, and then you can have a debt crisis, financial system crash, pension fund crash, mass unemployment and business infrastructure crash, etc., and on top of that you can have random natural disasters such as hurricanes, snowstorms, earthquakes, fires, floods etc. And on top of all that you can have wars. If you’re lucky, most of that can miss you, and it’s only something in the news, with no bearing on your daily lives. Or, if you’re less lucky, you can barely survive covid and then an earthquake can demolish your condo. There is such a thing as a shitstorm, which makes the concept of preparing for a specific single type of a disaster misguided and naïve. You need to cover a reasonably wide spectrum of disasters, and the good thing is that the recommended measures mostly overlap. In the majority of scenarios, you need to have as much money saved as possible, so you can react and solve whatever problem it is that happened to knock on your door. Also, you need to factor in the possibility of utility disruptions, and not necessarily short ones – if a major transformer station is flooded or there’s a fire, the damage can be very hard and slow to fix. If a major power station blows, the entire electric grid can go offline and it can take months to fix. If an earthquake really hits, as it did in Zagreb, the buildings might still remain damaged almost a year later, simply because the state will fuck up the reconstruction effort as it invariably does, and people don’t have the money to do it themselves.
Another important thing to consider is that a crisis can impact your source of income, even if it didn’t affect you directly. Companies can go under and people can be fired. The entire industries can be shut down – for instance, tourism won’t do well in lockdown times.
Also, when shit starts happening, it’s too late to take warnings seriously and start preparing. Everybody will have the same idea and you won’t be able to get things. Necessary supplies might be out of stock or rationed. Also, trying to find a place to rent in the aftermath of a major disaster that hit your area, well good luck with that, because if everybody’s house is damaged everybody will have the same idea and you’ll have the choice between terrible and terribly overpriced. Have all the necessary hardware and supplies now. Make all the emergency plans now. When you’re hit by a disaster, you’ll be in a state of shock and you won’t be able to think clearly, let alone make coherent plans. That’s how you get a rush on toilet paper supplies – people aren’t thinking clearly, they just shat themselves and something gravitating around their arseholes is the main thing on their mind. You need several plans, made when you’re calm, secure and lucid, and then you get to pick one that’s appropriate for the type of crisis that struck.