Today I went to Publix, thinking I should do something to prepare for the approach of a Category 4 hurricane. But the only thing I bought of a hurricane nature was a case of bottled water. Publix had big pallets of it stationed around the store, and most people seemed to be grabbing at least one. I did too. If everybody had been grabbing big sacks of pomegranate, I probably would have done the same.
We should all know it’s possible to fill up jugs with regular tap water and keep it for a few days, right? But when a hurricane’s coming you feel like you have to step up your game. Thus the bottled water. I also bought an overripe honeydew melon and some Cheerios and milk and a screamin’ BOGO deal on whole-bean coffee. I filled up the Prius and got $100 out of the ATM. And more wine, of course. Bring it on, Dorian!
Hurricane warnings are tough for me. I can never get in the proper mindset. The tracking forecast changes at least hourly, and it’s hard to maintain a true sense of urgency during the several days between the announcement of a hurricane and its actual arrival. Forecasters first said the worst might come on early Monday morning. Now it’s looking more like Wednesday.
Wednesday. Really? Yeah, Wednesday’s no good for me. This honeydew will be completely off by then.
My cynicism makes the dire media warnings seem overblown; we rode out Matthew and Irma without even losing power. My fatalism suggests that even heroic preparations wouldn’t make that much difference in a worst-case scenario.
But you have to do something. So tonight I was out on the porch packing up the sea-shells my wife displays on the porch railing. The shells are safe, honey! Tomorrow, depending on the forecast, I will take down the porch swing and stow the outdoor furniture in the garage. The potted plants are on their own.
Last year I read Isaac’s Storm, about the great hurricane that destroyed Galveston in 1900 on the Labor Day weekend. Back then, the people of Galveston had little warning. The death toll may have been in the thousands. But even if they had been properly warned, as we are being warned right now, there was only one thing that might have saved them: they all would have had to heed the warnings and get the hell out of there, pronto.
That’s something even alarmists find very hard to do: leave home in the face of a storm, weighing the statistically slight chance of death against the certainty of major delays on I-10. And really, most of us would rather pass a few nights in the ruins of our own homes than in a full-to-the-gills Motel 6. Right? After all, neither one will have room service or a functioning ice-maker.
I know this seems a jocular response to a potentially grave threat. No doubt I’ll regret it. But for now I am sick to death of hurricanes. And I have already eaten half that honeydew.