Mini Story: Before The Storm

Pan, the husband:”Are you sure we need so much bread? By the way, I eat my sticky rice balls and rice noodles. I am not a bread person.”

Pammy, the wife:”We can be stuck at home for a week. It’s a big storm with two feet of snow in some parts of New Jersey. Rice has to be cooked and heated, while bread is always ready to eat.”

Pan, pushing the shopping cart nonchalantly:”Are you sure we need so much spring water? We boil water and drink hot tea all the time at home. I can understand why these Italian Americans want spring water.” Looking around him, he observes many shopping carts filled up to the brim with spring water and bread etc. “Because they don’t boil water and they don’t drink hot tea. For us, it is really not necessary.”

Pammy:”Oh, my little dragon, we do need spring water. What if the tap water is not available after the storm? What if the gas line is in trouble or the electricity is gone? We have to prepare for all the contingencies.”

Pan: “The problem is that contingencies seem to take over everything right now. A significant part of our house has become a storage space for all the contingencies since the pandemic started. Our living space in the little house has shrunk considerably. We are still consuming those packaged food you bought 9 months ago and some has passed the expiration date.”

Pammy:”You will thank me if a real disaster comes. We are the well prepared ants while a lot of other people are unprepared grasshoppers.”

Pan:”The problem is that if the imagined disaster doesn’t come, ants have to eat all the stale food from the storage while grasshoppers can eat everything fresh.”

Pammy:”My grandmother went through WWII, numerous raids by random bandits, two famines, and a decade of political turmoil. What’s her secret? Store, store, store as much as she could. That’s what she taught me before I took the plane across the Pacific.”

Pan: “I agree that your grandmother is a source of inspiration but my goodness, how you manipulate your grandmother to promote your own opinion while opposing mine. I can equally argue that inspired by your grandmother’s example, we should not spend money on useless things and we should not buy anything today.”

Pammy:”Don’t be cross. No matter how much you complain, we are having a much better life than Mili and her husband Mi. You know how much snow they get in Albany, New York? Mi has to climb up to the roof to clean the snow when it’s getting serious. The snow can actually crash the roof. Can you imagine that? My grandmother…”

Pan:”Stop right there. I am drawing a line here. Your grandmother could probably climb up the roof when she’s 80 years old, but I am not going to do that. The difference between being inspired and being suicidal is unfortunately nonexistent sometimes.”

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