Two years (and counting) of this pandemic has truly taught me that I just never know what situation I'll find myself in, so I should educate and prepare myself if I want to survive.
Here are the situations that stood out:
1. "I researched how to escape a car that drove into water. Years later, I was catching a ride with someone in a car that drove off a pier and into 25-feet deep water. I immediately unclipped the driver's seat belt after mine and got out of the car, as I had little time to spare. After I got out and was on the car roof, I saw she was still inside. She was frozen in panic. The car was filling fast but hadn't tipped nose down yet. I banged on her window, so she pressed the button and the window went down. I reached in, started to gently pull her toward me, and then she started climbing out. Once I pulled her out, I helped her slide out onto the roof. From there, it was a short swim to safety."
2. "I can grab critical documents, computer backups, laptops, clothes, water, wife, and dog and be on the road in 10 minutes or less. And I proved I could do it when a forest fire overran the city. I've added a couple of gas cans to the process now as well."
"I keep a mental list. In an evacuation situation, you won't have time to consult a list. For me, docs and data are 'must have.' Devices, clothes, and water are 'if there's time.' Wife and dog are self-managing. Keep it simple.
Add to your docs an SD card with photos of all your property, including serial numbers if possible. Now make a copy and rent a safety deposit box, and keep it there. It's worth its weight in gold if you ever have to make an insurance claim." —u/betelgeux
3. "Back before the SARS-based viral outbreak, we never thought it would be a pandemic-level event. Still, we stocked up on N95s, an ozone generator, clinical cleaning supplies, and even had an account with a medical supply company, which came in super handy."
4. "I overthink what to do in the event of being kidnapped or being in an event that could lead to a kidnapping. Anytime I'm on the sidewalks at a late hour, I let someone know where I'm at — call it paranoia. I was walking home at 3 a.m. at a college campus, when a truck in the parking lot turned their lights off. It caught my attention. Someone got out of the car and started walking on the sidewalk, too, just a few yards behind me. I texted the girl who knew I was walking my phone number and told her to call me immediately. I said hello loudly, announced my exact location, and implied that we were going to be seeing each other soon. The guy broke off — I don't know where he went after."
5. "I was working on a commercial that had some very specific LED eyelashes written into one part of the script, so much that we were casting a girl to wear them and just had them audition with huge fake regular lashes on. In my mind I kept thinking, 'These LED lashes are going to be hard to find, and none of these men are thinking about it.' But I didn't want to be 'that girl' and bring it up or complain to wardrobe, so I ordered two pairs from overseas that took three weeks to come in. The day before the shoot, guess who was all freaking out because LED lashes aren't available in the US yet? They were screwed...until I showed up with two pairs."
6. "Due to the pandemic, I was stuck at home this past New Year's. I ordered dinner from my favorite restaurant at 5 p.m., rather early just in case to have later in the night. Sure enough, the restaurant stopped accepting orders a couple hours later due to the rush."
7. "I moved my family from Kyiv to a safe place before the war started in Ukraine. I did this completely independent, not as a company policy or anything, and with my family protesting, not believing a war would begin."
8. "I always hoped I would be the action-taker in a life-threatening situation, so I would always listen and read gore and 'it happened to me' type of stuff. It came in handy when a motorcycle in front of me ran up the back of a flatbed truck. The bike driver tipped over, skidded, and was unconscious. The flatbed never even knew anything happened. Five other drivers just stood around staring at the guy in the road, so I came up and directed one person to call 911, asked another to check his pulse after confirming they knew how to, and stopped another person from trying to wrestle off his helmet. I was also able to relay to EMT that he had a seizure as the other bystanders thought he was 'trying to wake up,' and that he had multiple broken ribs. I could feel shifting and grinding under my hand while gently consoling him once he did actually come to."
"I felt pretty good about being able to take charge and actually direct to get help, especially since I was the smallest person there." —u/wimwood
9. "I was overwhelmed and swamped my first year at university, but I’m a keener who’s determined to do well. One of my hardest classes involved a final exam that was in essay format. It was one essay question, and you had three hours to write on the topic. I asked the professor if we could see exams from previous years to help us study and prepare. I figured it would give me a better idea of what type of question to expect. At first he seemed hesitant, but he wound up giving me an exam from a few years back so I could study. The day of the exam, I opened the test booklet — the exam question was the same exact question from the previous exam he had given me. I looked at the professor, and he was looking directly at me and smiling. I have never been so prepared for an exam."
10. "I convinced my family to let me install a motion-activated light and camera in our alleyway. I spent lots of time in the garage and always thought to myself that someone would come in and murder me while I was working in there. Fast-forward about two weeks after they let me install everything: I’m in there painting, and I hear some motion in the alley. I heard the motion light turn on, turned to check the camera monitor beside me, and lo and behold, there was a group of four teenagers. And one of them was taking a shit on my driveway."
"To this day, my family still has that camera and light even though I’m gone." —u/Homeless_Alex
11. "Years ago when I was in high school, I used to wait at the side of a busy road for the school bus early in the morning. I would often think of what I would do if a car ever went off the road and headed straight for me. One morning, I was waiting in my usual spot when a car towing a trailer was driving down the hill. I thought, What would I do if the trailer came off? A split second later, the trailer detached from the tow hitch and came full speed toward me."
12. "My friends wanted to take me out for my birthday. I wasn't exactly clear on what the plans were, so I decided to wear pants under my pants, just in case. Turns out, they ended up taking me to a gentlemen's club and paid some ladies a few hundred dollars to give some Coyote Ugly-type dance with me in a chair. At some point, a high heel went through my jeans, and a very classy woman tore out my crotch area. But to her, and everyone else's surprise, I was wearing pants under my pants."
"They haven't let me live it down." —u/needaboat350
13. "I do IT as an additional duty to my primary duties at work. When I took over, I noticed that there wasn't a single tracker for any IT equipment, which was worth approximately $400,000. I had a shower thought that maybe I should just create a tracker. I also had the thought to include warranty expiration dates, along with cubicle details of each piece of equipment even though I might never need it. Took more than two weeks to complete it, but I had a spreadsheet of warranty information, serial numbers, cubicle numbers, room numbers, and model information for hundreds of computers and equipment. Several weeks later, my work replaced all the expired warranty computers with brand-new computers, and they said I needed to get the information on the old equipment before the weekend. I literally pulled up my spreadsheet, looked at all the expired warranties, and sent it to them within minutes."
14. "I was in fifth grade walking home alone because my sister left from school early, and noticed someone following me. As a child with a massive imagination, I had thought of scenarios where I was being followed. I even googled what to do in that situation, so I knew which of my plans would work. So when the guy was following me, I took four lefts. When I checked behind me, he was still following. I was pretty close to my house already and knew not to go in, so I went a few houses down to a neighbor and knocked on their door. 'Hey Mom!' I yelled. 'I’m home. Is the door unlocked?' They opened the door. In a whisper so quiet my lips almost didn’t move, I said, 'It’s an emergency; please let me in.' My neighbor tilted her head just enough to see outside without being seen, noticed the man, and said loudly, 'You don’t have to ask to enter your own house. Come on,' and let me in. We shut and locked the door, then waited until the man left."
15. "I always have an escape plan, and every time I go to a party or large gathering, I figure my way out should things get out of hand. I've had too many dramatic friends. I want to be able to peace out at a moment's notice if people blow up. A few times it came in handy, but the most prescient was a party at a frat house. I'd never been there before but came with some friends, and one of those friends had her 16-year-old brother along with us. He had a backpack with our booze in it. The cops got called on the place. Once I heard them coming up, I literally grabbed both my friends and the kid and said, 'Bail!' and led them out the back sliding glass door and through a field and navigated our way back toward our apartment areas."
16. "I'm in Canada, and like a lot of Canadians, I have a P.O. box across the border in the States where a lot of things get shipped to. One day after work, I had a few things that just arrived. Rather than wait for the weekend, I decided it was smartest to just go across after work to grab my stuff instead. I was going to do a grocery run, but that would have added over an hour to the trip, whereas just picking up packages could be done in seven minutes. I spoke with the agents for each side, and everyone was laughing off the idea the border would shut down. It was closed two days later in March 2020, because of COVID."
17. "I always had bandages, antiseptic alcohol, a piece of halva (Tahini snack mixed with honey), some cough mint tablets, and cotton buds in my schoolbag. Just in case. One day, I went to piano class after school and there was this little girl who had a large sheet of glass fall on her rib — there was blood everywhere. Me, another student, and our teacher quickly bandaged her up and stopped the bleeding before the ambulance came. Her family thanked us so much I didn’t know how to react. And then when I was in an extra class studying for the high school entrance exam, my then-crush caught a cold. I gave her some mint and the piece of halva to warm her up. Damn, her smile that night is still in my mind to this day. I ended up carrying her home that day, and we were in love for the next two years."
18. "Back when I was in university, I attended a student event during a weekend. I had a feeling that the organizers weren’t prepared, so I grabbed a box of tissues and shoved it in my backpack on my way there. When I got there, they were serving pizza, but they had no plates, or even napkins. So it was pretty good that I had some with me!"
19. "As a kid, me and my friend would play in a little grass area. To get to this, there were two entrances. One was a slope leading to the upper grass area, and the other was a gap in the bushes. These two exits were next to each other, so to leave you would have to pass both exits. I was convinced that if somebody came in while we were down there, we would be trapped. I stressed the whole time we were playing down there about how I would run if someone were to come in. We both were flinching at any noises, but it was too pretty of an area to leave that soon. I begged my friend for us to play in the upper area, since that had an exit on the opposite side and we could have two exits to leave. So we did. One day, I was smacking trees with a giant stick I found, when my friend started whisper-shouting my name. I looked at her after not hearing her the first few times. Walking up from the slope was a tall person wearing a trench coat, with one of those novelty anonymous masks."
20. "I have a rule to never mention names of people when speaking about them in public, in case they overhear. My mom and I went out to eat one day and were chatting when she brought up an incident from when I was in middle school where some kids were really messing around and she had to step up and correct them since no one else would. I nodded and was about to mention who they were by name when I remembered my rule. Well...that girl turned out to be our waitress. I didn't recognize her as it had been several years, and she introduced herself soon after."
"I think there's a really good chance she heard at least part of what we said. I'm so glad I didn't mention I remembered her name!" —u/Willowed_Wisp
21. "I’m a cash hider. Just a couple hundred bucks in random places like coats and drawers, in case I need cash. These are not used unless it is an emergency. Well, when I got my wallet stolen and all my cards had to be canceled, it took a hot second for the replacements to come. I didn’t have an ID, because it was stolen, and I wasn’t able to prove my identity and get a temporary card at the bank. But guess who was OK for a few days to grocery shop while my cards came in? This girl."
22. "I watched some first-aid videos when I was working daycare, multiple times. A week later, one of our young toddlers had a febrile seizure. My co-teacher froze. I got the kid out of the feeding table seat and got him on the floor. Our director called the paramedics and their mom, and I stayed with him and gave info to the paramedics. It was a surreal day."
23. "I began having chest pain at 21 years old. I'd have difficulty breathing and something they call 'impending doom.' I knew I was going to die, and I told everyone who would stand around long enough to listen. I just knew it. Every night I’d cry, afraid I wouldn’t wake up. For six months, I fought every nurse, every doctor, every provider to be taken seriously. Even my own family turned their backs on me, embarrassed by what they thought was a psychiatric episode. I became obsessed. I went to medical libraries to look for cases like mine. I did online research. I consulted doctors around the world on the internet. I never stuck a name to what I thought I had, but I had a very good idea of what I had and how it would behave. I gathered medical documents as evidence, and put it all in a binder so I could show doctors I saw. Somehow, I actually predicted the cardiac rhythm that would cause my death: polymorphic vtach.
What's a situation that you were overprepared for? Or what survivalist scenarios do you want to be more prepared for? Let me know in the comments.
Note: Some posts have been edited for length and/or clarity.