The comet was due to strike Earth within 24 hours, and no one knew where. It made little difference: the phrase from the emergency broadcast kept resounding in my ears as I rummaged through the artifacts of my life B.C. — before the comet — and that phrase was "...whatever you can carry to sites to be announced." "Whatever you can carry"? In a car? A truck? On foot? I silently said good-bye to my baseball cards and bottle caps, my trophies and love letters, and hefted the box scrawled with marker pen: "The stuff dreams are made of." I went out leaving the door unlocked...
Virginia Loh, Columnist, "Single in San Diego" for Asia: The Journal of Culture and Commerce
I was on this horrible date once and had to flee when the guy started talking about stalking his ex-girlfriend. In all seriousness, I did have to evacuate twice when some hurricanes hit the Outer Banks in North Carolina. So I would take my laptop because it contains all my writings, my work -- especially my dissertation -- and pictures. (I would have scanned all my photo albums and scrapbooks into my computer.) Second, I would take my cell phone so that I could call people and stay in communication. Third, I would take a book, most likely the Bible because it is long and has many stories, and given the circumstances, it probably would be a good time to start reading it. My next book is about the Cedar fire. I think it is important to remember the mortality of our lives and to fully appreciate each moment. It's unfortunate that it takes catastrophes and devastations to evoke kindness and humanity. We should be practicing acts of kindness every second of the day.
Skot Norton, Technology manager, KPBS
If I were going to be an evacuee, the first thing I would take would be a towel, of course -- from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, always take a towel. And the second two things -- I've given considerable thought to this, because every time you see pictures of evacuees after disasters, they're always sitting about on the floor of a gymnasium somewhere looking terribly bored and uncomfortable. So I would take a cooler of beer -- a large cooler, because you're going to want to make friends -- and a lawn chair. The Red Cross will take care of all your other needs. They're going to feed you, clothe you, and give you a cot to lie on and vouchers for money. But sitting on the floor for three or four days is tough. I don't need to bring anything of sentimental value because everything else is stored online.
Funnily enough, I have had to move out of a residence. When I was a teenager, a brush fire came in my neighborhood and we had to evacuate. My mother and my siblings loaded the dogs, the cat, and the goat into the car. My dad and I stayed there to protect the property. I was 13. The goat was carried off -- and part of my job was to care for the goat, so it took the stress off of me that I didn't have to care for the goat.
Michael Boyce, Store manager, On Comic Ground
My three things: the first thing, and this is ridiculous, but I would take my PowerBook, my Apple PowerBook, of course, because it has my entire life -- well, almost -- on it at this point. It's my baby's bottle. My second thing would be the diamond ring that my dad gave my mom when they got married and that she then gave to me. She said to give it to the man that I fall in love with -- which will never happen -- but, still, I'll keep that ring forever because it was really cool of her to do a thing like that considering how gays are perceived, especially by family members. My third thing, which will explain why she gave me the diamond ring, is that she gave me Wonder Woman when I was at a very early age and which changed everything. So my copy of Wonder Woman #228, where Diana Prince meets Diana Prince of Earth 2 for the first time, and you have two Wonder Womans on the cover, and it's amazing! My mom gave that to me, and that started the whole Wonder Woman-gay love-PowerBook thing. When I was younger, I lived like a gypsy, on the pretense that I was too cool to work. So I would travel with just a backpack, and I would leave stashes of comic books all over the country. I have stashes of comic books in every major city, still to this day.
Jack Innis, Author, San Diego Legends
I would take my truck, because I would need it to get out of Dodge -- pardon the pun. And I would take my hard drive off of my computer because it contains my life's work as an author. And, finally, I would take my guitar that was hand built by my son, because I promised him that I would give it back to him when I died. In other words, I'm willing it back to him. During the Harmony Grove fire, the flames were coming within a few miles of Bay Park, where I live, and we didn't know if we would have to evacuate or not. So we ran around and grabbed everything important -- the computer hard drive, the truck, the guitar -- and what we started doing right then and there was using the digital camera to take pictures of everything we owned. In case our house was wiped out, we would have something to show the insurance companies.
Juan Manzo, Education associate, La Jolla Playhouse
I'm 27 years old, and I would take my iPod, all of my books... Can I take all of my books or just one book? They would fit in a box or in my car. I wouldn't take all of them, but I would take most of my books and my pictures, my photo albums, because the photos represent really important memories and places that I've been, and I think it's really tragic to lose the only copies of those moments forever. I'm not sure I could gather all of this stuff very quickly. The pictures are probably the most important things to me, though. I have a lot of fiction books, like, Middlesex is a great book. And we have some really great leatherbound Shakespeare books that are awesome. Literature and books have been a big part of my life. I know you could buy them elsewhere, but I just don't want to let that go. Plus you would have something to read, and you could have your own library for others.