I've always thought I could weather a nuclear winter pretty well. The basis for this belief has a foundation rooted in fiction, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's not true. My fifth grade teacher read a book to my class that informed my only perceptions of the apocalypse as a cozy scenario that wouldn't be too terribly difficult. It was about a little girl who survives nuclear fallout because her house is in a deep valley. She lives for years on canned goods and vegetables she plants. She piled blankets on top of herself at night to stay warm. She read books and fantasized about the world just beyond her valley. I didn't have a firm grasp of fiction vs non-fiction at that time, so I believed the story was true. When I heard it, my ten year old self thought, "I could do that for sure and it would probably be fun."
25 years have passed and I still stand by that statement, which actually baffles even myself since I have zero survival skills. I run worst-case-scenario fire drills in my head every night and, nine times out of ten, they end in complete disaster.
Here's one common scenario I rehearse in my head to illustrate this point: A murderer breaks into my house. I hear him come in and I freeze. I try to go back to sleep. Then I realize I should probably get up and protect the kids. I peak my head out of my room and see a man walking down the hallway. I go back into my room and call 9-1-1. But I can't remember how to unlock my phone. Then I remember that you don't need to unlock your phone for emergency calls, but I don't know how to make my phone make an emergency call. I fumble with my phone. I drop my phone. The murderer knows I'm in my room. The murderer comes into my room and murders me.
If I can't even survive a hypothetical home invasion by a murderer, there's no way I'll make it through a home invasion by radiation. At least in the breaking-and-entering scenario, a phone could likely save the day. In the nuclear waste scenario, I lack the basic supplies needed to make it even a full day without electricity. I have one jug of backup water, I might have a few extra batteries in our storage closet, and I think we have enough canned goods to make one decent meal.
Other than these scant survival essentials, I do have one supply in absolute abundance: blankets and sheets. This is where I shine as a disaster-preparedness queen. In my head, the apocalypse is an opportunity to get real cozy and hole up for awhile as we wait for rescue crews to come. We have good books, some tea (that I assume we will make on my still functioning stove), and a lot of comfortable sleeping spots. Just a few days ago, we got Darla a queen sized bed so we could have an extra bed for guests in a pinch. This has made me feel even more secure in my peparedness. If a neighbor's house is leveled when the bomb lands, they'll have nothing to worry about. They can come stay with us AND sleep very comfortably at night.
In this fantasy, cozy, end-of-the-world scenario, I'm fully cognizant that there will be some level of "roughing it." When the time comes, I am sure I will rise to the occasion and, probably, even enjoy difficult living. I just have to be forced to do it. Since I've never been forced to do it, I assume this is why I have a very difficult time doing it now. When the time comes, I will surely be able to convert my urine into potable water and figure out which bugs will provide the most protein.
In the meantime, I will continue to turn on my heater if it ever dips below 68 degrees, wear an eye mask and turn on a white noise machine when I sleep, and loudly declare that we have nothing to eat while I stare into a cupboard full of food.