Now That’s A Disaster

As some of you may know, half of the Netherlands is below sea level (thanks for the PR, Al Gore!). So is my hometown, Leiden. We never experience an earthquake, there is no danger of tornadoes and forest fires are nowhere to be found. All that’s of any danger is a breaking of the dikes (and dunes). We therefore don’t have any ‘severe weather’ shelters everywhere, like you can see in a lot of places when visiting Missouri. One of the things that I found most interesting, is that most shelters normally function as bathrooms in public places like airports and grocery stores.

What I wonder is: what happens when severe weather breaks out? Apparently you all run into the bathrooms. Do men and women go into their normal, seperate bathrooms? What about a twelve-year old boy that’s shopping with his mother? If you’re there for a while and you have to use the restroom, is that frowned upon? Every time I see such a sign, I think of the mess you’ll have if you’re trapped in there with a crowd of people for over a few hours. All better than unexpectedly being caught by a tornado, but still. Must be heartbreaking to be trapped in a grocery store bathroom and to get hungry.

I wrote this somewhere in January, but the timing for publishing it is rather unfortunate, seeing the aftermath of tornado storms in the Midwest this week. I don’t mean to underestimate or play down the effects a tornado can have on a society.

Americans, could you stop driving that many big cars, so the sea level won’t rise that fast?


7 thoughts on “Now That’s A Disaster

  1. I guess when a tornado’s ripping the roof off your building, the etiquette of who goes when and where doesn’t really matter that much…and the stink’s probably going to disperse quite quickly anyway.

  2. All I can say is I wouldn’t want to be caught in such a situation. It’s interesting to consider if a mother and son would need to split up. Not for them though. I would vote the 12-yr-old stay with mom. You can bet your bottom $$ she wouldn’t let them be separated.

    Bummer about all the weather mess in midwest.

  3. And what about planes. You never hear about global warming related to them…
    Bathrooms are supposed to be the safest place to go in earthquakes too….I wonder if they have those signs in California?

    • I hear it, but I may be overly interested. I myself don’t recall the signs in California, but I didn’t visit public places that much. If only we knew someone who could check…;-)

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