Disruptions In Daily Routine And People Panic…


People have their normal routines which are ‘etched in stone’ so to speak. If and when any of these routines or normal expectations are unexpectedly disrupted, some of these people (a probable high percentage thereof) will panic or ‘brain freeze’ through the disruption while their minds cannot adapt to the situation or ‘reason’ their way out of it…

An apprehension or even panic may take over. They become stupified (a state of stupification). A blank look on their faces. A probable hum in their ears.

While recently driving we encountered a vehicle who’s driver had apparently entered the ‘stupification zone’ due to entering a situation that was suddenly outside their ‘normal’ whereby the driver had a very difficult time adapting to a simple ‘change’.

I believe that there is an incredible number of people just like that driver out there… who will be up the creek without a paddle during a real-life SHTF…

Here’s the story:


We were on the road heading to a particular shopping plaza, and were not too far from the parking lot entrance. Shortly before the parking lot entrance, there’s a ‘fork in the road’. You can bear to the left which remains the main road – also leading to the parking lot entrance, or you can fork right, up through a small neighborhood of homes.

Prior to the fork and as soon as we came around a slight bend in the road – approaching the fork in the road, we could see them… ‘DOT’ workers (Department of Transportation) who had half of the forked intersection blocked off and were excavating into the road with a cop on duty for traffic purposes. The left fork was closed (the one leading to the shopping plaza) with a clearly visible DETOUR sign with an arrow to the right.

There was a vehicle in front of us and the driver inside apparently panicked because of this traffic detour. The vehicle was moving forward and to the left while the police officer was waving to the driver to take the fork on the right (the fork left is clearly impassible). Instead the vehicle began veering towards the left (the closed road!) and simultaneously towards the LEO who was now assertively waving his arms while directing the driver to go to the right!…

The vehicle drove right up to the impassible portion of the road – while still blocking the road for everyone else – and after about 30 seconds of total apparent confusion the driver finally turned and took the fork to the right. Clueless… The LEO was not pleased to say the least…

Immediately after taking the fork to the right, there were clearly marked detour signs, guiding you where to go around. The vehicle in front of us was driving ridiculously slow while constantly braking and evidently wondering where to go and whether or not to take a side street instead of just simply following the detour signs. Total and absolute confusion.

At one point the vehicle’s right signal light begins flashing as the driver appeared to be taking a right-hand turn. As we were approaching and getting ready to slowly pass around the turning vehicle, the driver suddenly changes his mind and instead makes a sudden left turn – completely crossing the road! What the??! That vehicle is probably still at this moment ‘lost’ in that neighborhood wondering how to get back to the main road…

The thing is, their driving routine was interrupted while likely heading to the same shopping plaza that we were and they had absolutely no idea how to handle the situation. Their ability to think clearly was gone. Entirely unable to adapt to the situation.

Now imagine this… If this is the type of irrational behavior that some people exhibit due to an ordinary traffic detour, IMAGINE the behavior you will witness from people during a SHTF event! These panicked people will be creating chaos and problems for others – even those who are able to ‘think’ and ‘reason’…

I’m sure that many of you witness similar types of behavior while out in your travels, and I just thought that I would share this experience which yet again reinforces the deep doo-doo we’re in when the S hits the fan one day…

It’s all the more reason to prepare ;)

Feel free to share your own experiences in this regard:

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  1. I’ve seen the same type of reaction at various road projects. It’s scary that these people are even driving. It convinces me that most of these sheeple will not survive the first days of a serious SHTF scenario. It just reinforces my convictions to keep preparing as much as possible.

  2. Most recent “laughable” moment I have had was during the Animas River Pollution by the EPA a few months back.

    Just a quick story; when the “panic” hit that the EPA had contaminated the local Animas River, literally turned it Orange with contaminates, the entire world “seemed” to go on as normal, for most realizing that all Municipal Water Districts store millions of gallons in HUGE tanks and can maintain for months and months without replenishing.

    Welllllll not everyone it seems. During the first few days of the “water crises” the stores (all stores) were bringing in semi-loads of bottled water and selling out every day. During a quick jaunt to the local Safeway Store I witnessed 4 PU-Trucks, yes FOUR trucks, filling up (dozens of cases) with bottled water, now being the kind of person I am, I calmly walked over and ask what they were doing. “Well, there is a water emergency and we’re stocking up”. Ok, so to further inquire I just had to ask, “Well where do you live?” answer….. “Well over in Bloomfield, Why?”

    well I just busted a gut laughing and shaking my head…… After a few minutes I could see the guys were getting a little miffed at me laughing at them, so I had to inform them “you do realize that Bloomfield pulls ALL of its water from a different river (San Juan River), RIGHT????” ; they just stood there in complete ignorance and silence as I simply walked away.

    How in the HECK can we expect anyone to survive a SHTF if they don’t even know where their water comes from????

    Anything out of the “ordinary” Driving, Shopping, Electrical-outage, Water, Phone-Service, ANYTHING and the sheeple will go CRAZY-er than they already are, AND dangerous.

    As Ken stated, what if a “real” emergency/SHTF hits? People, were in real trouble with this type of shepple surrounding us.

    If something “real” happens, hunker down FAST!!!!!


    1. @NRP,

      Boy, you aren’t kidding about getting away from people in these situations. I’m sure these guys were patting themselves on the back for being quick to react to their perceived water emergency… you know you took all the wind out of their sails that day… hahaha!

  3. Reminds me of an incident about 10 years ago. A woman I worked with mentioned that she was going to dinner at her parents’ house that evening. Her mom was going to serve ham. Apparently they all loved ham and my co-worker was just so excited over dinner. Kept talking about having ham that night.

    Afternoon break came along and she was in a total panic. Her mother had forgotten to buy turnips and so there would be no ham. I foolishly asked why her mom just didn’t serve another veggie. That earned me the glare of doom. I remember her telling me through clenched teeth that her mom always served ham with turnips. “She. Doesn’t. Have. Turnips.” Her mom didn’t drive and everyone was at work.

    Wow, I found myself in the doghouse with my co-worker. The whole family was distraught that they couldn’t have ham because there were NO TURNIPS!

    I was dumbfounded. Can’t imagine what would happen to this family if anything more serious happened.


      1. @ NRP

        Absolutely true story. Ten years on and I’m still laughing.

        Somebody shoot me if I become that rigid in my thinking.


        BTW, I served ham with scalloped potatoes and asparagus on Easter… turnips.

        1. I am just sitting here shaking my head right now… some people just astound me with their inability to adapt to the most minor change sometimes. Guess it never occurred to them to venture out and try something different that year. Sheesh!

          And, no we had no turnips with our Easter ham either, hahaha!

          1. Wow, Turn that ham into a boiled dinner with cabbage and potatoes and carrots. Problem solved, wait I forgot turnips….LOL

        2. Kawartha Kween,

          Speaking of rigid thinking, how about Bernie Sanders? I saw him in a debate or town hall or something. The moderator asked him how he would solve the problem when, in a few years, America’s entire revenue would be going to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest.

          His answer: “We need Medicare for all. And the government should provide free college in all public institutions.”


          The audience applauded.

          1. It’s all feelgoods and no solutions. Personally I think they just fielded bert+ernie (multiple personalities, sesame street) to make the peons think they had a choice.

    1. I can see them now during a SHTF scenario. We are all starving to death because we have no turnips to go with our ham.

    2. Uncle captured during the WW11 budge, spent rest of the war a guest of Nazi Germany always said, “When it comes down to it, you will eat anything.”

      1. My uncle was captured in WW2 and said he made dandelion soup. Dandelions are a great food. They can be a salad, soup and the roots roasting can be a coffee substitute.

  4. Your story indicated to me that that cop directing traffic should have pulled that driver over as soon as it was apparent that the driver was not completely aware of the situation.
    Sounds very much like an impaired driver; alcohol or some other issue. To let that driver continue on was not wise.

  5. I see this happening a lot what I call a brain freeze, because their brain is unable to sort out the confusion they see. You read the stories about it all the time, and people just standing in a brain freeze too long before they can process what happened, or they panic.

    I took a test to see how I would react to severe changes a few years ago and I tested as a “Thinker”. My brain is always looking for a way out and who I would have to climb over or take with me to get there by studying my surroundings and behaviors of those around me.

    1. @ Stardust
      No No No, a “Brain Freeze” is when you drink an frozen “Ice Slushy” to fast hehehe. What your describing is a “Brain Fart” :-) :-) :-)

      Just Kidding y-all, Gata have a little fun ya know :-)

  6. That story about ‘ the ham that had to have turnips’, reminds me of an incident I witnessed a few Thanksgivings ago. Early in the morning I was gassing up at a local convenience store, when a man , still in his bright red pajamas, looking like he had just gotten out of bed, asked the clerk if the store carried ‘ horse radish’. Being Thanksgiving, the local grocery stores were closed.

    The clerk laughed and told him they didn’t carry horse radish. The man then explained that his wife was expecting company for Thanksgiving dinner, and her special sauce had to have horse radish as an ingredient and there was none in the house. The man stated that his wife told him, ‘Don’t you dare come back without horse radish!” After he walked out, we had a good laugh over that one.

    1. @ Drifter
      Could ya just imagine, Bright Red Jammies, looking for Horse Radish on T-Day morning with instructions to “Don’t you dare come back without horse radish!”, Ya know I don’t feel sorry for many people, because they usually get themselves into a situation, but, HAHAHAHA OMG, That’s Hilarious as heck. LOLOL

      1. When my husband can’t find something he comes home and tells me he has three magic beans. The laughter begins and we move on from there!

    2. @ Drifter

      We all forget ingredients from time to time. What I didn’t mention is that we worked about 3 blocks from a large supermarket that was 10 minutes from her parents’ home. She couldn’t go grab some on her way there because dinner would be late. And they ALWAYS ate at a specific time. So, no turnips meant no ham but dinner whatever it was would be served on time.


  7. Yes, people are interesting. That’s why we don’t let my Dad drive anymore, but at least he has an excuse. He has dementia, and anything out of the ordinary (even a second car on the road) sends him into a panic because he doesn’t know what to do.

    We’re dealing with a society wide case of dementia. Think of the implications.

    1. @Lauren, I’ve really noticed as my in-laws have aged their reactions to unexpected change have become almost extreme. Although neither has dementia my MIL is edging that way – she has a much shorter fuse, and they have both become highly inflexible. Weather changes, traffic changes, having to eat too late, a restaurant not getting their nit-picky order perfect… sometimes it’s a real challenge. And I agree that it seems like there is more and more of this – both from people who are elderly and people just acting plain-old crazy!

    2. Lauren & So Cal Gal
      When dh was in the hospital this last time. The RN explained as we age the oxygen levels can drop while we are sleeping without our knowledge, hence the start of dementia. It’s usually in those who have lung conditions or on the verge of a lung condition. If caught early enough they can use oxygen at night and it will keep their status up.

      Sorry to hear about your dad.

        1. My MIL has asthma (so I’m sure there’s reduced oxygen going on) plus some family history – a bad combo. I can only imagine how she would be in a SHTF scenario, it will not be pretty!

      1. I have a hemmorroid muscle pinching an optic nerve. Gives me a shitty outlook on things.

  8. Human behavior can be both fascinating and dangerous, can’t it? I’ve been caught many times at an intersection where the traffic light is out and people cannot figure out what to do (the whole 4-way stop thing just eludes so many people). Some people will fly through recklessly, others will wait forever then slowly creep through, some will push through on the tail of another car even though it is not their turn… a real mixed bag of unpredictable reactions to an unexpected change in their routine.

    I think we can expect this sort of thing in the early stages of an emergency. A few people may know what to do, but how many will freeze up or over-react? I think part of it is individual responses, but culture and upbringing may have something to do with it as well. While people may stampede in some places they may wait (or even die waiting) for instructions from others. I’m not trying to speak ill of any race, but I think cultural norms do contribute to behaviors, even in emergencies.

    As people who practice preparedness, I think we will find some people who are an immediate threat, and others we just want out of our way. And no, none of us wants to be scrambling around in an emergency with all of these reactionary and unprepared people around us. At either end of the spectrum these people will only make things worse for all of us.

  9. It isn’t just the drivers but the traffic directors. Many years ago, my mother and I were driving down an almost empty road in South Park Colorado. They were working on the road, and the traffic directors evidently had orders to let two cars go through one direction and then switch to two cars the other direction. Normally that would work because there were few cars on the road.

    But for some reason they got behind and by the time we got there the lines were more than a mile long each direction. They would let two cars through and the pilot car would lead them past a mile of cars waiting in the other direction. Then the pilot car, after guiding only two cars, would drive all the way back to the beginning, then drive a mile the other way leading only two cars…..

    I finally got out of the car and walked up to see what was going on, leaving my mother (who didn’t have a driver’s license) to keep our car moving. When I got to the front and found out what was happening, I tried to tell them that the lines were a mile long and we had been waiting over an hour in a hot car (I had no air conditioning at that time.) They said they had to follow orders and had no way to contact their supervisor for different instructions.

    We wound up spending over two hours traveling a little over a mile.

    1. @Daisy,

      I think you hit on something really important… the inability of people who are supposed to “manage” a situation to make good decisions or make changes if something they are doing is not working. The old “We’re just following orders” is a real problem when these people are in charge. You want to yell at them to use common sense, to not just blindly do something over and over that is clearly not working. I swear it seems like common sense has gone out the window most days, and it certainly would in a crisis.

    2. @ DaisyK
      ” They said they had to follow orders and had no way to contact their supervisor”

      Isn’t that what Hitler’s Brown Shirts said?

      I’m so sick of sheeple that can’t think.

      Sorry about the mini Rant

    3. Never ever heard the flaggers called “traffic directors”. That is somewhat like Patricia Schroeder lamenting about the pay of “cattle guards”. Thanks for the enlightenment.

  10. No thoughtful, mature, adult has to look too far afield to witness the abhorrent and bizarre behavior of their families, friends, and neighbors. A lot of it has evolved over the years as a result of the destruction of the nuclear family and the blurring of the lines as far as maturity and behavior.

    This is not a male-female thing, because I, as a cop, have seen both genders become totally clueless and helpless is situations such as described above. What I believe our culture is seeing are the results of the feminization of the American male, Normalcy Bias, and syphilitic thinking infecting our population as a direct result of the dumbing-down of Americans by the public school system and the media.

    We have been conditioned to believe that the Nanny State will take care of us. Men define their masculinity by stripping down to their waste, and painting their flabby torsos with the colors of their favorite sports teams and then making fools out of themselves at sporting events. Such behavior was unheard of when I was a boy.

    The Greatest Generation may have had their faults, but they came through the tough economic times of the Depression, sacrificed themselves during the Second World War, and stood fast during the Cold War. We do not have those types of people around in any great numbers in 2016.

    The narcissism of the Boomers and the Nihilism expressed in the thought processes of the Gen-X’ers and subsequent groups(just listen to their music) does not portend a healthy population, be it mentally, emotionally, or physically. And I also saw this when, after I retired as a cop in 2002, I became a school teacher.

    A few days ago, an article appeared on this site about “THE THIN VENEER OF CIVILIZATION. Scroll down to the last comment. You do not have to take my word for it. It’s all on You Tube.

  11. My whole career is designed to deal with emergencies and disruptions…..then raise 10 kids…..more disruptions….then run an active livestock ranch/farm…..more disruptions. I guess my whole life has trained me to think on my feet.

    My clients on the other hand….wellll they are another story altogether. I don’t hold much hope for most of them under regular circumstances – forget emergencies or disruptions. They simply can not deal. What a mess I see coming!

    1. I agree Otarn. They are a great boost to our economy in FL but I sure do wish they would learn how to drive.

      Although the old blue hairs that live here year round are just as bad.

      Adapt and Overcome.

  12. Being a Vietnam Vet, I was right there and saw two separate instances of Marines who couldn’t ‘think on their feet’, and react instantly to the circumstance of the moment.
    Sadly, they never got a second chance.

    Years later (many), upon reflection, I realized that my inherent ability to ‘think on my feet’ kept me alive.

    That, and blind-ass luck!

  13. I’m sure that many of you witness similar types of behavior while out in your travels

    Every damn time I leave the property.

    Generally tourists…

  14. The first 2 paragraphs of the post pretty much describe most folks today . The ability to think on one’s feet seems to be a rare and occasional event anymore . I don’t think most people could pour water out of a boot with directions on the heel. The future will be interesting when the SHTF , God save us all !

  15. I have noticed that as I have gotten older that I just don’t want to deal with
    “it”. Drives me nuts. My friends tell me that they will think about joining me on that mountain. Funny, they used to tell me that I couldn’t run away and to deal with it. : /

  16. Ken, I have to ask right off the bat: Was the driver Asian? Before you take offense, I am an Asian driver myself and I notice the look of fear on the faces of the drivers around me daily.

    I continue working within a large hospital at my age. I have to take down combative patients on a semi-daily basis. I remind my coworkers that I am getting older and I have to train a replacement. Hard to do because they all quit within the first year on the job. All new staff freeze. Some can be taught to work through their fear. The rest are advised to either hide in the office and watch or think about working elsewhere. I’ve made a career out of thinking on my feet. Not many people have this ability.

    These days I just have to sit back and laugh before I put on gloves and begin cleaning up the mess. People do stupid things. In regards to rigidity in thinking, (Turnips with Ham Story:) Such rigidity can be a sign of a mild mental illness such as Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. These are the people that will die within a burning house because they were looking for their favorite sweater (Never get the big picture/extreme case of misplaced priorities).

    Within my own family, I have come home empty handed from a holiday shopping trip and told people : “You are just going to have to deal with it.” When people get upset, I remind them that I deal with people who have truly had a bad day for a living. (drove ambulance before becoming a nurse. Been doing both for over 30 years now). Petty arguments at the holiday table over who got the bigger slice of pie or who gets the drumstick at Thanksgiving make me yearn for the quiet of an ambulance base between call-outs. So if you see the patrol car or the ambulance parked behind the grocery store, Don’t feel bad for us. Holidays are usually quiet for the first responders. Many agencies also give us Holiday Pay as well.

    First responders are in the business of dealing with stupid people and their victims. Sad to say but business has always been good. Can’t say it has become worse or better. I’ve never been out of work. If you think on your feet and are looking for steady work, I am trying to train a replacement.

    1. I started laughing when you mentioned taking down combative patients. My sister worked hospital security for close to ten years. She was always complaining about the co-workers who would stand back and watch her take down a 300 pound methhead, or let a sheeted patient just walk out because they didn’t want to take the action needed to stop them.

    2. CaliRefugee, you nailed it. As much as I hate to say it we used to have a term called DWO. Driving While Oriental. In all fairness it seemed to be more problematic with those who had grown up in Asia and had little experience with driving until later in life.

      Taking down the “unruly” was an all to often occurrence. I’m so very happy that their has been a shift in the ER (and nursing in general)towards more male nurses. I don’t want to sound sexist but it was usually the males who were expected to deal with it. I remember the overhead pages for Doctor Strong or Doctor Atlas which were the codes for violent patient and being the one of two males on duty in the entire hospital. So glad I am retired and was never seriously injured. MANY nurses are!

  17. I drive A LOT for a living. One day, I was talking to a client, and said that the interstate is crazy with construction, and its too time consuming to commute on it, and I asked her if she takes a different way home. (She lives 30 miles due west). She said “No, Its the only way I know how to get to work.”

    I’m not shocked or amazed at the sheeple like this, nor do I feel bad for them. These people CHOOSE to live their lives in their little boxes with their head in the sand doing the same repetitious thing day in and day out.

    There is a wealth of information out there to learn a different route, or any other subject that you can think of.

    Heck, there is at least 3 different ways to “right click” with a computer. haha. How many people only know the right click with the mouse?

    I guess my point is… Not too many people really “Care” – everyone wants the easiest path with the least resistance.

    I make it a point to know the lesser traveled roads for my job. The less the traffic, the better. Its good to know alternate routes. Versatility is always a good thing. Whether if its in cooking, driving, gardening, working, computing… I could go on and on.

    Like I have said in the past – the more you know, the more valuable you will be, and that – makes us great assets for our future.

    That woman refused to learn a different route home. She still sits on the highway annually with the construction going on, creeping along at 15 miles an hour wasting her fuel, and time. Tsk, Tsk, Tsk… Shame on the sheeple for keeping their head in the sand.

    I’d rather soar like an eagle than hangout with a bunch of turkeys. Haha!

  18. “Disruptions in daily routine”

    As I look around I see that ” The Daily Routine” concept is no more. In the U.S. and the entire world there is a major shift unfolding in the fabric of society, wealth, safety, population migration, and governments, etc. This shift of status is ever accelerating.

    Pick any area of change and the change that is happening scares the hell out of people, people must adapt to the changes to survive. To survive means to identify how the change is taking place and prepare accordingly. All of these areas of change have happened before but today these changes are all happening at once.

    As I study history I note that each change brings about a loss of life, sometimes a great loss of life. With all these changes happening at once I wonder if most of the human species will survive. Freezing up rather than adapting is a certain way to not survive. Some readers may think this essay is so much long winded bull $hit but watch what happens and then say i am a profit of doom. Good day to all.

    1. @No Joke, I believe that few readers would argue your point. I, and I’m sure many others agree as you suggest that things are a changin… We have seemingly ‘maxed out’ in so many areas (or nearing the point of being maxed-out) that logically and mathematically – change will be forced upon us whether we like it or not. How this change (changes – plural…) manifests itself remains to be seen. This is one reason that adaptability and the foresight of preparedness is so important.

    2. @ No Joke, Ken

      Perfect example, shut down the Star Bucks, sit back and watch the world dissolve before your eyes.

      BTW, well said No Joke. (see I agree with ya …. sometimes, HAHAHA)

    3. I think part of the problem is that many people are “maxed out” on change. The entire world is based on change, little changes, little bits of this and that being taken away, laws that no one can understand, you can’t walk down the street without breaking the law, kids and animals in the street, immigration and housing and a day to day job and it all gets overwhelming. So they sink into their little routines just to stay sane. Some may (probably are) so close to the edge that any change in their routines is a cause for panic–not because they’re mentally ill or can’t adjust to change in a normal situation but because the rest of their lives are so chaotic that they rely on that little bit of stability.

      We are intended for stability. Our minds work best when most of the world is stable and there is plenty of room for adjustment. When the world is in chaos, we physically can’t adjust as easily. Even those who are able to “think on their feet” have a tolerance level for chaos, and I’m guessing that most of them have an extremely well structured life and keep the internal static to a minimum, giving them that leeway.

  19. Did y’all hear about the breakdown at the Pez Easter candy hunt? Parents literally bloodied kids noses and knocked them down to get at candy. It was mass chaos. Imagine when people cannot get food. It will be a lot worse. People cannot think. They go crazy.

    Personally I avoid the Interstate. Too much road construction and crazy drivers. There are wrecks every day on there. I will drive 10 minutes out of my way to avoid that mess. And people still will not slow down and pay attention. Even in bad weather. They have to get to their destination fast. No matter the cost.

  20. I’ve been in Law Enforcemnt for 20 years. Anytime I have to block a road, especially for a crash, it’s amazing how many people just go into a complete mental breakdown. They will drive over curbs and sidewalks to get around me and then get upset when I yell at them. They are clueless as to what a police car with the emergency light on blocking the road means. I even had one driver ask me to move th body so they could go through. When the SHTF, many folks will just freeze and not know what to do.

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