One morning early in my career, I learned that my boss resigned.  A colleague and I met each other in the hallway, and wondered what to do.  We agreed to meet later that morning to discuss the situation.  The title of our meeting was “What Now?”

Life hands me a lot of “What Now?” experiences.

What do I do next?

What now?

—–

There are some people that like planning for the unexpected.  The Boy Scouts motto is Be Prepared.  One of my friends  smiles and says  “Expect the Unexpected”.

I am not a big fan of the unexpected.  I once heard someone say, “if you’re going to surprise me, please let me know in advance”.

—–

We lose electricity in our area a lot.  When the homes were originally built 50-60 years ago, little trees were planted alongside electric lines, in order to hide the electric poles.  Now those trees are 50-60 years old.  Every time we have a big storm, branches and trees fall on the electric lines, and we lose electricity.

We have a house full of flashlights, batteries,  battery back-ups, etc.  All of those help us to get through a loss of power.

Now we are in the process of installing a generator.  Not one of the ones that I have to pull to start.  This will be a hard-wired, always ready, full house generator.

I’m tired of asking “What Now” when the power goes out.   The generator should fix that.

—–

When I was in elementary school, I remember my school had nuclear drills.  We were instructed to climb under our desks, shield our heads with our arms, and crawl up in a ball.  I suppose that my first grade desk was supposed to shield me from thermonuclear war.

I still remember crawling under my desk.  It is hard to prepare for disaster, without thinking about disaster.  I remember wondering what would happen if disaster did occur.  Would there be a home for me to go back to?  Would anyone else be alive?

Yikes.

I forgot about being under my first grade desk for many years.  I remembered it again on September 11, 2001.  I recall feeling the same feeling that day that I did when I was under my desk.  What do I do?

What now?

—–

Late night phone calls are usually bad news.  No one calls me at 11pm to talk about fantasy football.  If the phone rings between 11pm and 7am, it is either a wrong number, or it is bad news.

I received one of those late night calls this year.  A close friend of mine was killed in a car accident.  I had spoken to him three days before.

What now?

—–

Not of all of my “What Now’s” are so dramatic.  Some of them are really mundane.  Life is full of leaky faucets, snow days, flat tires, and sore throats.

When I am faced with any of these situations, I go into task mode.

Call the plumber.  Call AAA.  Take him to the veterinarian.  Where is the phone number for the electrician?  Do we have Fix-A-Flat? Replace the battery.

I have a lot of batteries.

Hal

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