I filled my car up last week–twice. I bought so many rounds of Laughing Cow cheese that requires no refrigeration, I laughed at myself. I bought half a dozen packages of gluten-free rice crackers–at full price, which I never do. And of course, the requisite 12-pack of toilet paper rounded out my purchases because someone told me they traded rolls for rum after Wilma in 2007.
Then there was the dog food, the endless bottles of water, and the rum and wine so we wouldn’t have to trade toilet paper for either. We were set for Isaac.
Back in the day in D.C., we replaced tropical-weather shopping for snow-storm hoarding: milk you never drank, bread I couldn’t eat, eggs whether you needed them or not, and toilet paper because you’ll use it at some point anyway, topped everyone’s list, along with bags of ice-melting chemicals–who cares if the stuff eats away your sidewalk–and yet another snow shovel whose handle will break. Then the waiting began, peppered with days of dire snowfall-potential predictions that always ranged from a dusting to a foot or more.
Those were the days, when just the threat of a flake closed schools and offices (I always loved working for those whose policy was to “follow the Federal Goverment”–they always seemed to close, at least early if not for good for a day or so), and a certain anticipatory thrill filled the air that maybe the icy white stuff would accumulate just enough to give workaholic D.C. an excuse to give itself a guiltless day off.
I have not experienced a hurricane. I had not experienced a true tropical storm until yesterday. I was, however, very familiar with the shopping-spree syndrome during which you tell every checkout person, “I’m not shopping for the storm–I really was out of these things!” Uh huh. Whatever. Or, really, who cares? I didn’t. I wanted to be prepared. Because from what I’ve heard from the SoFla lifers, the aftermath of a real storm is real ugly. Ask anyone–Wilma is their never-again gauge.
I cannot imagine lack of electricity for weeks. And not because of the lack of lighting–I have plenty of Coleman lanterns and 2,034 packs of D batteries with which to keep them lit. Nor because of the lack of hot water–SoFla tap water is perennially luke warm and never refreshing; I could deal with that. No, it is the unimaginable prospect of life in this swampy, so-humid-you-can’t-see-out-your-apartment-windows-every-morning-from-April-through-October atmospheric miasma without AC for even a day or two that gives me great, great pause.
Isaac was no Wilma. Isaac was hardly anything, so they say. But if you ask me, it was plenty enough. And the bands just keep on playing, tossing palm fronds, flooding intersections, smearing multiple lanes of A1A with muddy sand that has to be plowed, and closing only this while making the rest of us wish they’d close that, too.
Seriously, how long does one storm nowhere near that strong and now nowhere near us have to hang around? Bands, please break up. Have an artistic disagreement. Sleep with each others’ girlfriends. Just go.
And no, my musician pal in Nashville, Tennessee, I was not tweeting about wanting Chris Isaak’s band to break up! But thanks for asking a serious question that made me laugh.
I hope stupid Isaac lets the Gulf Coast off as easily as he did us. Would that we could call that a wrap on the 2012 storm season.