How to Be Stranded Indoors


In case you haven’t heard, the chunk of America where most of the media lives is about to be buried in snow by an omnipotent but indifferent god. New York City is shutting off its express subway trains. Connecticut’s blocking off roads. Boston is almost literally closed tomorrow. This all means that for the next 24 hours, millions and millions of people will be confined to one particular indoor environment.

Anybody who’s been shut in before can tell you that there’s a right and a wrong way to do it, and luckily, we at Jezebel have got teachable experience with all kinds, from the borderline Shining-crazymaking of the days following Chicago’s apocalyptic February 2011 blizzard to the guilt-ridden boredom of being stranded in a functioning building in the middle of a nonfunctioning city in the days immediately following Hurricane Sandy, to the peace of holing up in a hut in Kyrgyzstan because all of the power in town is out. Again. Where there’s a storm, there’s a way.

Obtain provisions

If you haven’t procured the proper supplies by now, you’re probably fucked. But if you’re going to brave the last moments pre-storm to get one thing, don’t make it bread or milk or a bag of flash-freeze dried Trader Joe’s mango slices. This isn’t Antarctica. You probably already have all of the Easy Mac and granola bars you need to prevent yourself from starving, and the last thing you need is to absorb the peripheral anxiety of a yuppie mom yelling at the nanny from a half hour Whole Foods line: “Rosa, this is why we hired you. What do you mean you can’t make it down from Queens tomorrow?! … Well, take a car!… The mayor can’t tell people NOT TO TAKE THEIR CARS!…”

Fuck food. What you need is booze. Rule of thumb for storm booze: you need one bottle of wine or slightly less than one six pack of beer per person per day you expect to be stranded. If you’re in a household of two people and you expect to be indoors for two days, that’s four bottles of wine, or two magnums of wine, or three-ish six packs of beer. You’ll probably have some left over after the roads are open again, unless you’re really going through some stuff and are planning on taking it out on your liver during a snowstorm. At any rate, better safe than sorry.

And speaking of safety: condoms. Nothing retroactively kills the simple pleasure of a few compulsory inside time like an unplanned blizzard baby. Or a blizzard abortion.

Call your mom

Kelly covered this exceptionally well in her post this morning about preparing your mom for a blizzard, but it bears repeating: make sure your loved ones know you’re okay and you’re just planning on chilling out indoors during the storm.

Weathering the storm alone

The prospect of being stranded alone in an apartment with adequate food and booze will validate all of the calculated life choices or regrettable personal decisions that landed you here. You’re alone in glorious, glorious solitude. So what do you do? Whatever the fuck you want.

Take your pants off. Take your underwear off. Donald Duck around your apartment for the entire blizzard. Masturbate. Sing. Listen to your Celine Dion playlist on Spotify 25 times. Think of how an adorably flawed romantic comedy heroine acts during scenes when she’s supposed to be the most adorable, and go 25 steps beyond that into a realm of human behavior so disgusting it hasn’t been captured on film. Self-narrate your life. Get drunk and cut your bangs. Squeeze every single blackhead from your nose.

Your primary concern when living through a storm alone should be making sure you don’t hurt yourself or drink all of your booze before it’s comfortable to go outside again. You’re on your own.

Weathering the storm with people you like

Avoid overdosing on togetherness time right away; you’re going to need your sanity for the long haul. Think of being stranded indoors with friends like you would going on a camping trip where none of you leave the one apartment—no hiking, no doing cannonballs into the swimmin’ hole, no bonding physical labor; just campfire time. And the more people are involved, the more variables are at play, and the more likely one person’s shitty attitude could ruin the whole adventure. So tread carefully.

Unless all of you are very chill, do not play Monopoly. One Jezebel staffer had a disastrous stranded-with-friends experience that started taking a turn when she stormed out on a game of Monopoly she was losing (she’s competitive, but also not good at Monopoly: a bad combination). The bad times escalated when she saw her friend’s balls, and reached a head when she put on her headphones in the middle of the living room, just so she wouldn’t have to hear anybody else talk. The next day, she got in a shouting match with one of the other girls in the ill-fated group.

If you have weed, smoke it. This will relax everybody in the event of tensions.

Weathering the storm with somebody you love, like, in a sex way

Being stranded with a significant other sticks a thermometer up your relationship’s ass and screams the temperature at you so loudly that the neighbors can hear it. So it’s important to honestly assess just how into your partner you are and plan accordingly before the subways shut down.

If you’re getting along well, great; it will be like a sleepover with sex and Netflix viewings of shows you’re both dyyyiiinnngggg to marathon. If you’re not getting along so well, now might be a good time to start reading The Goldfinch.

Weathering the storm with kids in the house

I dunno, dude. Board games and prayer.

Weathering the storm with a mysterious evil entity that takes many forms

Don’t adopt strange dogs, even if they’re cute and have those little Husky eyebrows and you’re very lonely at your research outpost in Antarctica.

Images via Shutterstock, Screengrab.

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