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?