Paranoid or prepared? It’s your perspective.

I’m sure at some point in your life someone called you paranoid for something you considered just being prepared.

To be prepared or paranoid, it’s a matter of your own perspective.

For example, to keep food, water, and other “survival supplies” in your car may seem like an unnecessary and paranoid thing to do, right? I mean, “what are you afraid of?” would be the common refrain. But consider about 1500 motorists, stranded on Interstate 12 in Louisiana due to massive flooding. Louisiana State Police used helicopters to airlift food and water to these people.

But perhaps it’s just a consequence of being in the southern part of the United States. I remember when I lived up north, it was a ritual as wintertime approached to put various supplies in your car, like blankets and some food and water, because getting stuck in a snowstorm was a very real possibility. If you didn’t prepare your car this way, you were considered stupid.

Prepared? Paranoid? All about your perspective.

Some years ago the family had a day planned for SeaWorld. Of course, being SeaWorld you (should) expect to get wet, so we planned and dressed accordingly. As the day drew near, weather forecasts predicted rain. What did I do? I packed raincoats. No reason to cancel the day, because again you expect to get wet. But it’s miserable walking around in the rain, and inconvenient to use umbrellas, so raincoats. Of course, some looked at us as weird because you just don’t go into a vacation event expecting “bad things” – the day should be sunny and happy, right? But Mother Nature didn’t consult me in making her plans, so I had to work with her plans. Of course it started raining. What did we observe? The other park patrons all rushed to the gift shops and bought SeaWorld-branded rain ponchos – we were the only people in the entire park with our own rain gear (of any sort). We were only considered paranoid until we needed it, and then we were considered prepared.


Before you start labeling someone “paranoid”, step back and remember your empathy. Try to see it from their perspective. Nothing says you have to agree with them, but hopefully you can at least understand them.

4 thoughts on “Paranoid or prepared? It’s your perspective.

  1. I keep a 3-gallon jug of water in the back of the car, which my wife thinks is a terrible inconvenience. 🙂 But on our road trip to Grand Canyon it was comforting to know that if we had car trouble in the middle of the desert we wouldn’t die of thirst right away. Come to think of it, even being stranded on the side of the road between Elgin and Austin, a jug of water would certainly come in handy.

    We’ve tried keeping various kinds of food in the car, but most food isn’t capable of being stored in the kind of temperature extremes that occur inside a car. Granola bars melt into a gooey mess, nuts go rancid, and cereal goes stale pretty quickly. I don’t have a good recipe for Lembas bread. I’ve considered freeze dried food or MREs but the packaging says they should be stored cool. What are your thoughts on storing food in the car?

    • Yeah… very few things will withstand the heat of a car interior in a Texas summer.

      With MREs, you CAN store them in the heat, it just reduces their shelf-life.

      As for things, general wisdom that I’m aware of is to do the best you can, and just rotate your stock because things just will not hold up well. So maybe you store some Cliff bars, they may be a bit gooey, but it’s still food. Or things like dry crackers and peanut butter (in proper containers); not the greatest feast, but it’s food. It can also help to see how you might be able to store things in your car, because some areas may be cooler than others. For example, your trunk, down in the spare tire well might be a little cooler than in the cabin.

      Of course, mission can dictate too. If you KNOW You’re going to the Grand Canyon, you can pack a few more things just for that trip (vs. just having stuff in the car for daily driving).

      Granted, I’m no authority on prepping. If you want, I refer you to my friend Paul Martin: Paul is tops on prepping, and a very level-headed, reasonable, rational person, with sound advice on things.

  2. I too keep preps in my truck. I’ve also been labeled as paranoid, although more often the comment is more along the lines of “why would you do that?”

    I got stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Hazleton in a blizzard once. While the wait was only about 8 hours it could have been worse. Thankfully I had a full tank of diesel and a cooler with soft drinks. (yes a cooler in the winter, as any pro truck driver…)

    As for food I keep some of the protein bars used by those more athletic than I. (yes gooey in the end but still edible) and I also keep select parts of MREs in my bag. I also swap them out every spring. I also have about a gallons worth of bottled water and a life straw in my GHB.

    • Sometimes people need to have things happen to them in life to wake them up and make them realize.

      We’re all guilty of it. It’s just part of being human.

      Thus, my request for more empathy… because usually it’s less costly to work to understand a different perspective, than to gain that understanding the hard way.

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