Tuesday, September 02, 2008

After Hurricane Gustav

Well, we dodged the bullet here in Lafayette. While the storm came directly over Lafayette as a category 1 storm, damage seems less than I would have feared. Which is not to say that there is no serious damage. Big trees are down on my street and all over town. There is some wind damage to roofs. We'll all be out with chainsaws soon.

Thing is, this hurricane is in the range of storms that we (and I expect those living in other hurricane-vulnerable areas) consider normal. It's bad – but normal and expectedly bad. What happened in New Orleans during Katrina and what happened in Lake Charles during Rita was not in the range of normal and we on the coast now feel relieved to merely get hurt badly.

What would be felt to be a major disaster by anyone outside a Gulf coastal zone is greeted with gratitude by those of us living here. :-)

We have our rituals that give us feelings of control and competence, however illusory. You stock up before the storm with ice, charcoal, and nonperishable foods. Trim branches away from the house that might beat on the roof. Pick up the yard and put away or tie down anything loose. Cover large windows. Everyone has their pattern before the storm. Then when the storm forces you indoors, you have another set of rituals: freeze big bags of water in the freezer to give it mass for when the power goes out. Mix up drink mixers. Watch TV and surf the net till the power goes. Break out the mixers and liquor. Watch the trees whip around – especially those you know are brittle (like pecans) or have shallow root systems (like water oaks). Wait for the eye to pass. Go out into the streets during the eye and talk excitedly with the neighbors. Wait for the wind to change directions. Watch the trees whip around again. The point is that we know what to do and just do it. Now's the time for gassing up the chainsaw and cutting the limbs up to regulation size and dragging them to the street (or, in my case, to the compost area).

Long story short: we're ok. Hit hard but know what to do about it – not hit so hard that it's hard to cope.

Best wishes for all in the path of Hannah....

2 comments:

Nick Istre said...

Don't forget, we have Ike behind Hanna and Josephine behind Ike for those who seemed to be disappointed in Gustav.

I personally think it's rather foolish to be unimpressed by Gustav; Often, boring is good...

John said...

Nick sez: "Often, boring is good..."

When you're right you're right.