Words I never thought I would hear myself say. In fact, thinking on it, I have never uttered those words either in my mind nor out loud. I found myself pondering that statement this evening as I zeroed in on the compound, after a long days work, completely numbed both body and soul following a wonderful massage I got after work. And then I was jolted into the 'reality' (there is that word again) that I well may be facing impending doom.
Often times we find ourselves doing a mindful inventory, of just what we would do in the case of some kind of natural disaster, emergency or a crisis situation in general. And of course, like most unfortunate victims of crisis would probably tell you, you are never really 'prepared' as much as you think you may be. When you come full face to crisis, I would imagine a whole new set of instincts and actions set in. Take Maryann for instance. In the face of a rabid bat flying rampantly around our room at 4:00 in the morning, she remained perfectly calm and in control as she locked her entire body into the sheet and blankets....mummified, leaving me completely exposed and in the midst of a hair raising event. And, she remained calm and in control as I ran around mindlessly repeating the same expletive over and over, in my underwear, trying to find a way to bring the situation to a stand down.Kenai Alaska or Bust: Eviction, conviction and.....taxes? Or, there was the time I was driving down the highway minding my own business, as I casually observed somebody's wheel rolling past me, realizing instantaneously as my truck hit the pavement with a screeching thud, that in fact I was witness to my own wheel detached and rolling past me. One single expletive barely escaped my pursed lips, as I slowed the truck to a grinding stop as to not lose control of the vehicle.Kenai Alaska or Bust: What is retrograde and...how can I get one? I am sure we could all think of many times that we did not anticipate in our active imaginations, some kind of fiasco and just what we would do "if", while rolling through our mindful inventories of crisis situations.
It is a semi regular occurrence for those of us who live in the mountains or the country to see smoke at some point through our days as we drive down the highways. Often times it is someone burning vegetation piles and such. And of course as most of us know there is always that looming thought of a possible wildfire. Considering that we have been under a strict burning ban since the wildfire down in Homer a week and a half ago, and that the past couple of days have brought the first rain of the summer season here. My thought tonight when I saw the smoke was that they had lifted the burn ban and some 'Jesse Duke' redneck was beer tasting while roasting a huge debris pile of beetle kill slash, in the back '40. Like I said, common. I guess I started to question my simple thought when I was driving down the road and through the trees saw a ball of fire shooting some 100 or more feet in the air. Naturally, this did stir a little concern. Well, alot of concern. As I turned down the back road headed for home, I eventually saw several vehicles pulled to the side of the road ahead of me, obviously checking out what it was that I had seen. As I slowly drove by looking onto the bush, I thought..."oh, the refinery must be burning off excess", as I watch a fire ball big as the house roll out the rear of the refinery. Wait. 'A fire ball as big as the house rolling out one of the stacks'.
If this seems like something out of the ordinary to someone who does not live near a refinery....it is! In fact it is so uncommon that I grabbed my cell and called someone I know that works at the refinery and asked her just how common in fact this is. She very calmly stated what I had already figured, and that is that this kind of thing does not happen on purpose, no, it is not common.. As I resumed the course to home, she called me back after calling her people at the refinery and confirmed my alarm, that there was in fact a fire at the refinery. This is where all logic, planning and that mindful inventory I mentioned earlier....well, it all goes out the window at this point, and things like: "will I ever see my family again", "will I even know what happened or will it just happen so fast that...", "crap! How am I going to fit 3 huge dogs in my truck if the sirens go off and I have to evacuate, since Maryann isn't home and John moved out". And believe you me, a few other thoughts that you could probably already figure out. I studied on calling 911. But at this point I am figuring that many before me, more than likely already have. So I pulled up to the house and sat mindless in the front seat of my truck, dumbfounded and wondering just what I should be doing. Running like hell, or just kissing my ass goodbye!