Thursday, January 19, 2012

Child-proofed for Your Safety

Our embassy provides each employee's residence with a large tin box filled with emergency supplies. It's usually stored in a shed, outside of the residence itself. Nepal is regarded as a high-risk country for earthquakes - a land-locked Haiti with only one airport capable of accommodating large military airplanes (by the way, a recent study showed that the runways at that airport would probably crack and be rendered useless in the event of a major earthquake).

So if a major disaster strikes Nepal, it's likely that we will need to access our emergency supplies. Some time ago I tried to open my emergency kit to check that I have everything I'm supposed to have and nothing is expired. But it had been secured with a plastic tie so I went back into the house to find a sharp cutting implement to cut the plastic tie. Recently I discovered that a new plastic tie had been put on.

I pointed this out to the officer in charge of the emergency kits and suggested that it might make sense to allow easy access to the emergency kit so that if an earthquake hits, I don't have to go into my house, which might not be stable, and find a pair of scissors to cut off the plastic tie. In response, I was told that the emergency kit is secured with a plastic tie because some employees might be tempted to take something from the kit (i.e. toilet paper) and not replace it.

What the what?

This is the same rationale that forces me to locate and use manicure scissors whenever I need to open a new bottle of Excedrin. Normally that's not a big hassle. Except when I wake up at 3:00 in the morning with a raging migraine. All because 30 years ago somebody's toddler ate a bunch of pain pills thinking they were candy.

Using my diplomatic skills to cover up my snarky inclinations, I observed that the point of the emergency kit is to provide necessary supplies to the employee in the event of a disaster, and by hindering access to the kit, we are negating the point of having it. He suggested that I buy a sharp cutting implement and keep it nearby the emergency kit, but keep it hidden so that I wouldn't be tempted to "steal" the toilet paper.

At this point I lost the strength to continue along this line of reasoning.

I would like to be treated as a responsible adult, not a pill-popping toddler.