Preparing for the impending arrival of unwanted visitors Iselle and Julio, I was reminded of some of the darker moments of my newlywed days: my mother-in-law's annual visits. Not that I didn't like my mother-in-law. She was personable and lively, and we got along fine. But those last few days counting down to her landing were pretty nerve-wracking for both Jim and me.
The house had to be immaculate, of course, and things in the kitchen rearranged to her liking; otherwise, she'd do it herself, admonishing me, "THIS is where that should go." She was strong, smart and sassy, with a larger-than-life disposition. She was actually a lot of fun, as long as the pantry was properly stocked and organized. That's why the anticipation of her visit was more stressful than her stay. Every summer we drove ourselves crazy bracing for the blustery arrival of Hurricane Marge. Bless her heart and rest her soul, I mean no disrespect. In fact, she'd appreciate the analogy.
Fortunately, prepping for the oncoming storms was much simpler and stress-free. Having participated in the Makani Pahili hurricane preparedness exercise two months ago, I know that the Maui Civil Defense Emergency Operations Center and participating agencies are ready. And so am I. Got my flashlight, batteries, water, duct tape, Spam, Cheetos . . . all set.
With my kit in order and my car gassed up, the only thing left on the emergency preparedness list was to stay informed. So, during the last several days, I've spent much more time than usual online. Now I wish I'd stuck to the radio. For I have become addicted to a brand-new guilty pleasure, worse than Cheetos, even.
It started innocently and well-intentioned, with visits to weather-tracking websites like the NOAA National Hurricane Center. But then, while waiting for updates, I figured I might as well check on my Facebook friends. If only I had stopped at liking photos and posting one-liners. No, I had to click on a link that said, "I'm Bugs Bunny! Which Looney Tunes character are you?" That was my first step into the dark world of online personality quizzes.
After learning that I am Pepe Le Pew, the incurable romantic, I just had to scroll down to the Disney princess quiz. I was so pleased to get my childhood favorite, Snow White, I jumped right into "Which of the Seven Dwarfs Are You?" I got Dopey. Which turned out to be an accurate assessment. I can't think of a better word to describe my newfound obsession with these silly tests.
Apparently, my aura is Red and I am full of passion. Or unresolved anger or fear. But my spiritual power is Joy. "The Great Gatsby" is the story of my life, at least in terms of classic novels. The movie version of my life is "Dirty Dancing." If I were a Monkee, I'd be Davy Jones, and if I were a Muppet, I'd be Miss Piggy. I was Aristotle in a past life, and of the "Frasier" sitcom characters, I am Daphne Moon. Now that one I saw coming. I'm a bit psychic, you see.
What exotic wild animal would I be? Snow leopard. What animal was I in a past life? Unicorn. As for my present life, I was dissatisfied with my first result, eagle, so I took a half-dozen other "inner animal" quizzes and got a half-dozen different answers: crow, rabbit, wolf, cat, tiger and vampire. Really. That last quiz must have been concocted by the same person who declared me a reincarnated unicorn.
Finding my inner animal wasn't enough. One quiz led to another and another, and after a couple of days I had determined my inner power (magic and healing), my inner demon (conceit or perfectionism), my inner fruit flavor (kiwi: flamboyant, proudly unique and - yikes! - larger than life) and my inner potato (curly fries).
And yes, there's more than one quiz titled "What Natural Disaster Are You?" I thought for sure I'd be a hurricane, but I was wrong. I got Blizzard. Or was that my inner Dairy Queen product?
* Kathy Collins is a storyteller, actress and freelance writer whose "Sharing Mana'o" column appears every Wednesday. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.