Sunday, September 14, 2008

On Catastrophes and Priorities

It was weird today to read the stories in the paper about the horrific experiences the people had yesterday on the Texas coast, and to look out the window here at the totally perfect weather. I commented about that yesterday. It was even more striking today after seeing some of the early photos and video from East Texas. I have a very strong feeling that once we start seeing more photos and video from Galveston, we are going to be appalled. I've heard people who experienced Andrew and Hugo talk about those storms. From the snippets in the paper today, I'm pretty sure this one was another Big Bad One that will spawn a lot of horror stories as well.

DH commented today that living so close to the ocean may not be such a good idea. We don't live on the beach, but we live a whole hell of a lot closer to the ocean than Houston! I am not sure what DH has in mind. We're not in a position to move any time soon. While living in Florida ranges from the merely frustrating to the truly maddening, and as elections draw near, it often devolves into the totally bizarre. I could do without the drama, the corruption and the rampant stupidity in the Sunshine State. But, I read the papers. I'm not sure anyplace else is any better. Besides, when there are no hurricanes bearing down on us, I really like living near the ocean.

Instead of moving, I have developed a personal survival plan, which is sort of a hierarchical plan, depending on the intensity of the storm. (It also applies to wildfires or other potential catastrophes.)

If its a tropical storm or a Cat 1 'cane, I will stay here. For those kinds of situations my hurricane preparations involve
buying peanut butter, pretzels and red wine (i.e. things that don't require refrigeration and can be consumed without cooking) and stopping by the library to load up on books. Large print books are good because if the power goes out, I can read them on the back porch in relatively low light. Sometimes we put up plywood. Sometimes we don't. When we do, it's usually at the very last minute. No point going to that hassle needlessly.

If a Big One is headed our way, we're outta here. I have simplified my life to the point that the "things" I can't do with out will fit in a small bag. The truth of the matter is if I had to leave my house with my husband, my kid, the dogs and the clothes on my back, I absolutely could do it. If the Big One comes here, we will leave and we won't be back till the power comes back on! You will not catch me sitting out a monster storm under a mattress in the bathroom, nor will you likely find me crying in my front yard the morning after wondering how the hell we are going to eat that day.

DH and I have often joked about taking advantage of the aftermath of a really bad storm to get in on one of those last minute deals on a cruise. There would likely be a lot of cancellations. We could book a nice room, and enjoy a few days of entertainment and great food before coming back to pick up the pieces. Our insurance company might even pay for part of it, since they'd be paying to put us up in a hotel anyway. [I can dream, can't I?] The mess will still be here when we come back. I don't know if we'd actually do that or not, but I love to think that we would.

Interestingly, I think that way of "planning" sort of applies to my life at a lot of levels. I have simple tastes. I have few needs. I don't really want anything I don't already have. To be honest, most of the stuff I already have, I could do without. In fact, I find a most of the stuff I already own to be downright burdensome.

I'm not a real people person, so I don't have a wide circle of friends. I have a few stalwart soul-sisters, some of whom I hardly ever talk to (but, when I do, we pick up where we left off the last time). We are scattered around the country, so it sort of doesn't matter where I am, or where they are for that matter.

Seen from the outside, I am quite possibly the most boring, miserable excuse for a human being imaginable. From my perspective, I think of my life as an endless adventure.

I know that as long as my family is safe and we are together, I don't care very much about anything else. With that Survival Plan in place, I'm okay living near the ocean..... at least as long as hurricanes continue to move slowly enough for us to get out of the way.

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