Please turn off the light...
From beneath the chemical-warfare-proof plastic sheet I have draped across one corner of my living room, the world looks decidedly sinister. The grey light gasping to push through the dust-flecked window speaks one word - doom.
Inside, though, I feel safe. Surrounded by piles of necessities to weather the storm, I know I will be able to survive the four years of President George W. Bush's second term. Maybe.
I am uncertain because I am not sure if the rise in global temperatures, increasing number of terrorist attacks, collapsing American dollar or nuclear proliferation will get me first.
After listening to Mr Bush's declaration of victory in Tuesday's US election, I decided there was nothing to do but prepare for the worst. The past four years have not been that much fun, after all.
First, there was the bursting of the dot com bubble, then all those threats against Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Then there were the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the wars against the Taleban and Saddam Hussein, not to mention Sars, bird flu and rising oil prices. Call me weak, but I can only respond to the idea of another such roller-coaster ride with two words: No thanks.
There was, of course, the option of fleeing to Canada, a long-time safe haven for draft-dodging Americans and, more recently, those in need of gay marriage, abortions and legal marijuana. However, the thought of joining the long lines promised by the Canadian immigration department was not appealing.
Besides, coming from a sub-tropical climate, and with winter already set in, I must confess to an aversion for thermal underwear, wind-chill factors and mukluks (the soft boots made of reindeer or seal skin, favoured by Eskimos).
Option number two - building a Bush administration fallout shelter in my apartment - seemed a warmer, more cost-effective, alternative. Under my 10th floor, orange plastic hideaway, I have gathered my essentials. There is a television, DVD player and three movies - the ultimate fairytale, Shrek, Monty Python's Life of Brian and Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. They will make me smile when I have nothing to laugh about.
Beside a straw mat and cushion for sleeping are three well-thumbed books - Leo Tolstoy's mammoth classic War and Peace - four years may just be enough to get through it - and the autobiographies of the former US president and first lady, Bill and Hillary Clinton. These are for enlightenment.
There is a framed photograph of me, taken years ago, standing on the crest of a steep hill, with far below, a strip of palm-fringed beach embracing a sparkling Pacific Ocean. That is to remind me that for every dark moment in life, there is a bright, sunny one.
Food is stacked against the wall - peanuts, as favoured by US ex-Democratic party president Jimmy Carter, and junk food, as devoured by Mr Clinton. Pretzels will remind me of the reason I am here (Mr Bush almost choked on one).
Somewhere beneath the piles of nuts, cream cakes and chocolates is a copy of one-time actress Jane Fonda's exercise video, Step Aerobic and Abdominal Workout. With effort, it will keep my body primed to face a post-Bush world.
Lastly, I have my hopes, enough to fill my little shelter and the dark void outside. They centre on the rhetoric of war and going-it-alone dying away and being replaced by an understanding that we are all on this planet together and must co-operate. The one with the biggest guns may be able to talk the loudest, but is not necessarily right.
With the off-chance of this realisation, however slight it may now seem in the flamboyance of election victory celebrations, my preparations can be discarded.
Only then will it be safe to again face the broad daylight of reality.
Peter Kammerer is the Post's foreign editor