Friday, September 23, 2005

Rita, You Skank

Hurricane Rita is approaching our community. We are north enough that we don’t need to evacuate, but we will likely face a major storm.

I was born and raised in New Mexico. I didn’t live anywhere else until I went to graduate school in the Midwest (another area of the nation not known for its tropical storms). Being a desert-boy left me woefully unprepared for thinking about Rita. In New Mexico, if it rained for more than twenty minutes we declared it a monsoon.

Without any experience to draw upon, I have found myself floundering with how to conceptualize Rita. My concerns vacillate between the ultra-mundane (Gosh, I hope this doesn’t interfere with my gym schedule) and the ultra-hysterical (I am going to be crushed by a falling house like the Wicked Witch of the East).

Searching my brain for reference points is my first response. Let’s see: Wasn’t there an episode of Dallas involving a hurricane? Hmm, I only remember Miss Ellie offering-up Pam to the serial rapist who broke into Southfork. That is not helpful – yet.

Damn you, flimsy-pop-culture-reference! You have failed me! Come to think of it, how would a hurricane ever reach Dallas in the first place? Damn you, again!

Okay, never mind my childhood devotion to televison. Wait! I am a professional historian. Surely this gives me some type of life skills. After all, people in the past faced hurricanes. Well, there was that 1900 hurricane in Galveston. What did they do? Oh, right, they all got themselves wacked (Too dark a reference? Hey, the blog is called the Center of Gravitas, not the Center of Hopeful Joy).

The only information the scare-tactic news offers me is that I will likely die. Well, okay, I probably won’t die. Newscasters, though, seem a little disappointed to concede the point.

Without a suitable frame of reference, we went to the local food mart last night to buy our “emergency supplies.” I discovered that others clearly knew that you needed to do your panic-shopping much earlier.

As I traversed the picked-over aisles, I wondered, what does one buy to prepare for a storm?

I noticed my fellow shoppers had a serious demand for Pampers. Certainly I also needed to stock-up. “Slow down,” I thought, “Shaun and I don’t have an infant.” But then I wondered, “What if one of us becomes incontinent in the middle of the storm?” I decided we needed a package just in case.

Bottled water had long been sold out. Two six-packs of Tab and a couple bottles of wine are just as good, right?

What about food? The oven won’t work without electricity, so making a Bundt cake would be out. We decided on ice cream, M&Ms, and curry-in-a-can.

Actually, I really only needed the wine (a nice Rioja, FYI). Shaun insisted on solid foods.

So, I am sure we will all be fine. Tell Dorothy if her house falls on me, though, I am kicking her ass and her little dog, too.


Anonymous said...

As someoone who lives in central Louisana, I lost power for 3.5 days after Katrina and a bit over half a day for Rita. If you are well inland then the most likely difficulty (other than a tree falling on your house) is losing power for days.

I hope you're doing well (don't see a more recent post from you), but for the future I'd recommend the important stuff (besides food, water, and first aid) to have is a couple of flashlights, a battery powered radio, lots of batteries, many candles, and matches or lighters.

Start saving some plastic milk jugs/gatorade jugs/wine bottles. Rinse them out and stick them in a closet or cabinet. Next time you have a storm approaching fill them up with tapwater, so you don't HAVE to go out and find bottled water.

GayProf said...

Thank you for the good advice, anonymous!

Greg said...

Have we ever seen you more optimistic or upbeat than when you described those bare shelves as "picked over"?