The Weather

Eight Steps to Frankenpanic

Step 1:

First of all, relax. It’s Saturday. It’s not even raining. On your way back from morning yoga, stop by the greenmarket and pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers, because it’s so gray and uggo outside. While you’re at it, maybe get an organic brioche and some rhubarb preserves to have at tea time. When you witness harsh words exchanged over the last carton of free-range organic pullet eggs, shake your head and tsk. Take heart in your survival of past weather disasters, such as The Blizzard of 1996, when you got to stay home from seventh grade for two entire weeks. When people try to engage you in conversation about the coming storm, shrug and say, “Oh, you should have seen it in ’96. Now that was weather.”

Step 2:

Get a bikini wax. You realize this isn’t on typical storm preparedness checklists, but in your mind there is some scenario that combines flooding, a full moon, and first responders, and… Just, better safe than sorry.

Step 3:

More like Frankenboring: the chicken-little behavior of your peers means you have no engagements this afternoon. This is a perfect opportunity to catch up on your reading. Settle in with a beer and Marcel Proust.

Step 4:

You are four beers and nine pages of Proust deep. The #frankenstorm chatter makes you feel like you’re missing out, so you decide to get into the spirit of things by purchasing some bottled water. Unfortunately, by this point the water shelves at Rite Aid hold only a few snubbed bottles of Evian. Evian’s prestige has always baffled you, tasting as it does like it was drained out of a community pool. This unexpected shortage of artisanal waters touches off a dormant unease, and you decide to purchase other things to assuage this anxiety, starting with beer since your home stock took a recent hit. You wander the aisles with vague preparatory intentions, but here, what’s this? A discrete but well-curated selection of “personal cleansing wipes,” and suddenly you’re asking yourself, Is this something that people do now? When did this quantum leap in personal hygiene technology occur? Is just using paper… Is that primitive or something? Remember when John Spartan, as portrayed by Sylvester Stallone in Demolition Man, was frozen and then reanimated to bring his muscular brand of 20th century justice to the Wesley-Snipes-terrorized-future, and he didn’t “know what the seashells” were for and everyone laughed at him for wondering where the toilet paper was like he was an orangutan in an orangutan exhibit? Go ahead and slip a box of personal cleansing wipes into your basket. This is not a field you want to get left behind in. You should also pick up some ice cream, in the hopes that the power does indeed fail and you’re confronted with nothing but a moral imperative and a spoon. Also, buy a leave-in conditioner, because your hair is looking kinda dry lately.

Step 5:

Before you lose access to the internet, and therefore 95% of your friends and everything you “know” about science, go online and get ordained as a Universal Life Church minister. After the disaster, a new hierarchy will develop based on practical skills and abilities, which will place you at a disadvantage, for the simple reason that you have no skills or abilities to speak of. Religious figures always command a neutral kind of power, and the robbing or molesting of them is generally frowned upon. As a spiritual leader you’ll also be imbued with a natural moral authority, and you’ll want to arbitrate over disputes in your apartment building and be trusted to distribute food rations and corporal punishment and the like. Plus, you’ll be ideally situated to assume a role of leadership in the new Waterworld-esque pirate government, and not reduced to selling yourself for whatever is used for currency in the new post-apocalyptic economy—probably canned peaches or Tang or some indestructible-Twinkie bullshit like that.

Step 6:

As time passes you’ll understand the importance of keeping a schedule, so celebrate Halloween as planned by donning your Sexy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Costume. You were supposed to go trick-or-treat bar hopping with Jess and Valentina as your co-sexy Ninja Turtles, but they’re long dead by now. Reflecting that sexiness and turtles are one of those surprisingly successful combinations, like peanut butter and bacon, you can use the remaining power in your iPhone to post photos of yourself in costume to your dead friends’ Facebook pages: “Miss you, xoxoxox!! RIP.” Go ahead and paint on some sexy kitty whiskers and a nose; there are no rules anymore.

Step 7:

Well now you wish you had some Evian, don’t you? The beer is gone, so you’ll need to boil the water from your toilet before you drink it; build a small cook fire in your sink and lay the wire rack from your oven across the top on which to rest the pot. You’ll need tinder—use the Proust.

Step 8:

Stop crying. Get out of the bathtub. Wash off the face paint. The personal cleansing wipes will prove their worth here. Last of all, set an alarm so you don’t oversleep and miss brunch with your mother tomorrow morning, which is, according to the scratch on your wall, Sunday.

But don’t forget to bring an umbrella. The Frankenstorm is nigh!

A.C. DeLashmutt is a Virginian living in New York. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney's, The Washington Post, theNewerYork, Flash magazine, and elsewhere. She also writes plays. Follow her on Twitter @acdelashmutt.