I've heard stories. Sacramento is a valley, and valleys tend to...flood. In my 1+ year here, I joke that I brought the draught with me. It stopped raining. Watering your lawn became a serious offense unless it was your allotted day of the week. Lakes dried up. Everything turned from California gold to California brown.
But then! A few weeks ago it started raining. Apparently that's a normal "winter time" thing. So naturally, people started complaining about it. Rain? It's horrible! Screw the drought, we can't drive in this! Suddenly it becomes way more difficult to make all those sudden stops without using a signal, or to cut off other cars when there's all that water on the ground!
Then we were told to prepare for a serious shit storm. It was going to rain 5" quickly, and the winds were going to get up to 60mph; the leaves were going to clog ALL the drains! Pandemonium! Naturally, schools were cancelled (including the one where I work), and everyone headed straight for the store to buy up all the water.
Here's where I feel a tug at my often-nostalgic-heart. See, Alabamians are no stranger to weather-induced panic. We are known, upon given a 30% chance of precipitation, to run to the store and buy up all the milk and the bread and make sure our living wills are in order.
Why milk and bread? You might ask. I don't know. The only blizzard I ever experienced was in 1993, and I was 7 years old. I distinctly remember our hoarded gallons of milk being buried in the snow to keep them cold. I also remember a dog dragging them off into the snowy distance, never to be seen again.
Anyway, I experienced the same frenzy here in California, only people seemed to be scrambling for all the water in all the bottles everywhere. Practical, yes? Aged trailblazers might also pick up shelf-stable proteins, or say, trail mix. Peanuts. Beef jerky.
Here's where Californians meet us Alabamians in bizarre preparation:
Everyone buys water. That's practical! Yeah. And then...snacks. Boxed wine. Funyuns. Beer. Twizzlers. No one knows how to actually prepare for an elemental disaster, but they want to be tipsy and able to snack their way to oblivion, floating gloriously on the bacteria-infested rivers of Midtown. In a way, it makes sense. At least more so than milk and bread. If the power goes out, at least I have my booze and my simple carbohydrates. That makes more sense than milk sandwiches, right?
Anyway, here's what actually happened on Doom Day, in case you were curious: it rained a lot and it was kinda windy. Stuff fell on my roof and simply rolled off. Fortunately, nothing broke. Nobody died. I didn't have to go to work, which was nice. But everyone panicked, just like they do when it "kinda" snows in Alabama. But in their defense, it does not typically snow enough in Alabama to shut everything down. And they don't have the equipment to deal with it. So when people talk trash about the South not knowing how to "deal with a little snow," think about it. It's not a typical thing. It's not unusual for the northern California regions to flood, yet here we all were, in a total panic. I blame social media. Or Fox News. Whatever.
But the one thing I will say about this: in California, at least we have better Disaster Snacks.