Saturday, August 27, 2011

Waiting for Irene

6:10AM, Silver Spring, MD. My wife and I just dropped our youngest daughter at the Amtrak station so that she could catch a train back to Philadelphia and her husband. I'm about to put the seats back in the Caravan- the ones that have sat all summer on the front porch. I vacuumed out the French drain in the outdoor stairwell and got everything valuable off the floor in our flood- prone basement.

We'll lash the trash cans to the front porch railings with bungees, and I'll overturn our grill in the backyard to keep it from blowing away.

I'm counting on a power failure, so I've charged up my cell phone and my laptop, for all the good that will do me. If the power goes, so goes the WiFi.

Waiting for Irene.

This is a fraction of what my friends in New Orleans do almost every year since 2005 and Katrina. The Freeman- Archers (not their real names) have permanently packed boxes in the foyer under the stairs with candles, batteries and flashlights. I've seen them. In fact, I bet those boxes are there right now.

Irving Banister parked his car at the post office near his house in the Uptown section of New Orleans the night before Katrina broke the levees. When he returned a year later, his car was gone, along with everyone else's, stacked like brightly colored metal logs under the I-10 freeway.

Of course, it won't be that bad. Katrina was the storm of the century, at least to the people of the Gulf Coast, and certainly in terms of lasting impact to everyone in the United States.

But it will be more intense than I'd like. We'll be fine, along with the rest of DC. But what about my father, sitting in his house with my stepmother there in Keller, VA on the Bay? And my daughter in NYC, in her tiny apartment she shares with her fiance near Columbia. We asked her to come home, but she said she would be okay. I have no choice but to believe her. My sister asked my father to come stay with her in Charlottesville, but, again, he said they'd be okay. I wish I was that confident.

Waiting for Irene.

It's supposedly going to be sweet and sunny here by Sunday afternoon. We may be powerless by then but I bet the air will be wonderful- scrubbed clean by Irene, the chambermaid of hurricanes.

Just seems a little apocalyptic that we'd have an earthquake (really weird feeling, that) and then a hurricane. Like we're borrowing someone else's natural disasters. We are generally panicked, calm, unprepared and over- prepared.

Gotta get those car seats now. I'll let you know, gentle reader.

Waiting for Irene.

1 comment:

paul said...

"So tired, tired of waiting,
tired of waiting,
for you." (Kinks)
And I like the Freeman-Archers!