Well, lipbalm and probably loo roll would be in mine. Never mind that stuff about insurance and mortgage paperwork – for one thing, I have neither of those in the first place.
As the situation gets ever scarier, more people seem to be talking about filling up their store cupboards with tinned food and bottled water and other essentials. The police, at least in Scotland, actually advised everyone to have a grab bag ready. And it’s one of those questions that comes up every now and again in author Q&As – what would you pack if you had to run away? What could you not live without?
In the past, I wrote two or three articles on the theme of What You Should Always Have Handy In Case You Got Lucky (basic level was a condom and a toothbrush, escalating to complete change of clothes, several sex toys, streetmap, snacks and first aid kit). But I am mildly (perhaps weirdly) fascinated with the whole concept of living off what’s in your handbag if zombies/apocalypses happen. I have at least a mental list of the non-useful things I would want to take if fleeing my home forever – the portrait of my kid, a notebook and pen, my favourite t-shirt, copies of my books, that little wooden vase that I am so fond of – but those would be in addition to the selection of things I always intend to have about my person Just In Case. I like to have lipbalm. To be honest, I cannot function without lipbalm within reach. I prefer to have spare smoking components – tobacco is great, obviously, but it’s less good if you have no papers or filters. Tissues. Tissues serve a variety of purposes. Pens and paper (one pen is never going to be enough, not least because if you only have one pen, it will die the minute you want it). Pocket knife and/or scissors. It was only last week that I had to make up for a total lack of scissors by burning through things. Oh yeah, I’ve always got at least two lighters.
I’ve always been rather impressed by Hermione in the Deathly Hallows doing a spell which enables her to pack enormous amounts of luggage into a tiny handbag. But I also think that I’d probably end up getting caught in the Zombie Apocalypse miles from home, with a bag that contained three sticky chocolate wrappers, a broken pen, a snotty letter from a debt collector and an upsettingly sticky hairband. Though I would have lipbalm, no matter what.
Want something to stick in your apocalypse bag? You could do worse than check out the bookshop.