Saturday, September 24, 2005

It was a dark and stormy night

As I write this, I should be on a flight to Minneapolis (or at least to Atlanta to get to the Twin Cities, to watch the Saints cream the Vikings). But alas, I'm still here thanks to Hurricane Rita.

But I guess I should be thankful. I just woke up after an extended nap to the evident realization that the worst is over for us. Sure, the wind is still swirling and continuing its impression of a dead scream queen from a Stephen King novel, but the old hag's died down considerably. I might have been halfway dreaming, but I think I heard that at this point we're receiving tropical-storm-force winds. And, as we all know, those things can't cause any harm.

As always, I stayed up very late to watch the storm. Unlike most nights, everyone else also stayed awake. At almost the same moment during the night, I said "Lili was much worse than this," my mom said she had never endured a worse storm in her life. We just kind of looked at each other.

Over the course of the night, I camped out with my teenage sister, mom and their puppy in our hallway. I attempted to sleep, but couldn't, because halfway across my house my dad was blaring the news on his TV. At one point I think I blurted out, "I really wish the power would go out." In order to go to sleep, I need a generally quiet atmosphere. Compare that to most of my family, who cannot sleep without a television ON. My sister's been known to wake up if I turn off her screen, even if the volume is all the way down. As soon as I heard my dad snoring--a phenomenon louder than any network offering--I crept into his room and turned his system down. Damn you, surround sound!!

For hours, my mom sat transfixed in the hallway, watching the storm through the patio doors across the way. Her expression was an almost continuous gasp. Though watching the gale-force winds ravaging our backyard freaked her out, she could barely pull away. She must have had that famous proverb in mind, "A watched pot never boils." Of course, that standard did not apply to me, for any effort on my part to watch the storm was met with, "Oh my god, don't go in there! I'd like it if you stayed in the hallway." Right, like being stuck in my house most days isn't already suffocating enough without being confined to the space equivalent of a Thai prison cell. But I braved numerous trips to all of our windows, watching in awe at humankind's deserved humility against Mother Nature. Mom kept imploring me to come out of my room, lest the massive pine tree in our driveway fall over and slam into it like that utility pole in the movie Pulse. I assured her that I would have advance warning, and would almost want to see something like that anyway. In case anyone hasn't noticed, I have a sick side.

I was also warned by my loving parents that I could be sucked away in a split second if I played it too dangerously. Though that suggestion failed to scare me, it did put me in the mood to watch Cast Away. Which I could have done, because at no point did we ever lose power. On a related note, watch me suddenly lose this entire post!

For several months now, one of the two pine trees lining our circular driveway has had a long branch that points straight down, looks almost exactly like a gout-ridden hand and sways precariously in the breeze. I call it "the dagger branch" and tried my best not to park directly underneath it (or to deliberately do so, depending on the state of my vehicle), because a demonstration of its impaling qualities always seemed imminent. As of this writing, most of the dagger branch is gone, though it took some time to fell that bastard. So much for calling State Farm--my truck is not there to be impaled. It's already dead, currently parked at a garage in New Iberia, where it may or may not still have a roof.

During my most recent nap, I had a dream I believe to have been dictated by the radio. It involved trying to publish a newspaper and keeping a portable TV and radio dry right outside a makeshift Red Cross shelter set up in my house. I suppose I'll have to look that one up in the Book of Dreams.

At the moment I woke up, our radio was blaring an interview with an editor from our local newspaper, who explained that they had employed several journalists and technicians from other areas in order to get off today's issue. I hope they felt free to use my resume as extra post-consumer pulp for one of their advertising inserts.

By the way, I'm fine. Just in case you weren't sure. I hope everyone else is the same way.


Mustang Bobby said...

I'm glad you made it through the storm; it sounds like Rita treated you more harshly than she did me here in Miami.

I'm glad you're safe and sound.

Flamingo Jones said...

Weeeeeird....I watched Cast Away at work this morning!

I'm glad you're A-OK. And you have electricity!

Nick said...


Walter Whittfield's parents are live in Chauvin, about 20 miles south of Houma. He called me at about 11pm last night to tell me that they had about an hr. and a half to get out of their house. The levees near Terrebone Bay broke and water was rising over the houses. He called me again around 5am this morning, they were safe at his grandmother's, but they probably lost everything, cars, house, etc.

I'm going to talk to him again soon to see if insurance is going to cover and help him and his parents get back on their feet. If it doesn't, I may try to contact some people who were on the team to help donate some money, or bed stuff, etc. to them. If you have any e-mail addresses, please try to forward them to me when you get a chance.

Hope yall are dry.

Alisha said...

You say..."As of this writing, most of the dagger branch is gone, though it took some time to fell that bastard." Please read this and leave your poor sister alone!