My MacGyver moment, when it came, was not diffusing a bomb with a paper clip.
It was buying an old school Rand McNally street map at Book Soup.
Now I’m not John Goodman in “10 Cloverfield Lane” with a survival bunker under my yard, nor am I likely to be featured on “Doomsday Preppers.” But for years I have been a student of self sufficiency and emergency preparedness.
I experiment with gear, study and develop readiness skills, and try out different approaches to organizing my life — home, work, and travel — to be, if not disaster proof, at least disaster resistant.
I come by my passion for remaking my environment honestly. My mother, Maxine Ordesky, is a founding member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. At 82, she’s still a sought after space planner. My brother, Joel Ordesky, is an Eagle Scout and management consultant.
Back to Book Soup.
As part of my readiness jam, I periodically assemble customized “get home” bags for my friends. Filled with favorite tools and supplies meant to help sustain someone away from home for 2-3 days without much help in the event of an emergency.
My brilliant business partner, Jane Fleming, turned 50 this month. Which is why I was at Book Soup: buying a Rand McNally map of Los Angeles for the get home bag I was making her.
The nice cashier with the nose ring, and the book club junkie behind me in line, marveled that paper maps still existed (they’re not easy to find), and what on earth could I possibly want with one in the era of Google maps.
I momentarily felt very AARP (I’m a proud member).
The paper map is so that Jane can navigate home when mobile, GPS and Wifi fail, and if fires or infrastructure collapse make familiar routes impassable.
A paper map also indicates areas of risk and resources. Universities, for example, can be hazards during a fire or earthquake due to toxic materials in research labs or chemical engineering departments.
Conscious of oversharing, I braced for Book Soup eye rolls. Not a one. In fact, Nose Ring Cashier and Book Club Junkie looked at me like I was MacGyver.
In that moment, I realized that Ready Is Sexy (see what I did there?). Because it’s empowering, fun, mind expanding, and physically challenging. It incorporates elements of curiosity, mindfulness and spontaneity; health, diet, fitness and travel; civic engagement, financial planning and personal security; and relationships and family.
As importantly, at at time when the world feels so divided, readiness — at least the way I approach it — celebrates and encourages the power of community as a hub of shared wisdom, compassion and resources.
So with a nod to the stoics, specifically Seneca’s maxim “While we teach, we learn,” I’ve started this blog. I don’t claim to be an authority on preparedness, but I’m going to share what I do as it’s served me well in ways large and small. So, whether you follow along here or we connect IRL, I’m looking forward to us all learning more together.