Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Lessons from a hurricane

1. If you sleep in a walk-in closet, chances are, you'll sleep through the whole thing and wonder what everyone was talking about. And then you feel a little miffed because you did indeed miss the whole thing.

2. Three days without water is a long time.

3. Twelve days without power means you learn how to fumble around in the dark really well. Even now, I can walk around my apartment without the lights on just about perfectly. And oh yeah -- you remember to move things out of the way so you don't inadvertently step on them.

4. When you're without internet or satellite television for fifteen days, you feel disconnected. There's a world out there that's functioning and somehow you're not a part of it.

5. Twenty days without functioning traffic lights is really very scary.

6. Lines for gas get really, really, really long. It's best if you top off before the hurricane. Especially since they ration it afterwards. And string yellow police tape around the gas station. Did I mention the lines are really long?

7. Lines for fresh coffee at the gas station are also really long, but oh so worth the wait.

8. It's amazing how much you don't know about the world when the only source of news is the radio and all they can tell you is what FEMA is or isn't doing. They don't tell you what you really want to know which is when is life going to be normal again?

9. People do some insanely stupid things after being cooped up for 24 hours and with no electricity, water or internet, like jump into flooded street ways from bridges, never mind that there might be snakes, alligators, downed power lines, gasoline, dead bodies and other icky stuff in that water. Don't be stupid.

10. It is possible to forget how to turn your television on.

11. Cupcakes make hurricanes better. I recommend buying cupcakes to anyone in a similar situation.

12. Rechargeable electronics are great until you realize you can't recharge them when they die.

13. There's no such thing as customer service in the aftermath. It doesn't matter if you don't want fruit with your Belgian waffle, you're going to get it. And dang it, you will enjoy that waffle because it's the first hot meal you've had in five days.

14. When the lights go out, all the people come out. They come out to sit on balconies, on doorsteps. They talk, they drink beer, they play cards, they read books, and listen to music. When the lights come back on, they all disappear.

15. Calling your land line multiple times to see if the answering machine will answer doesn't make the power come on any faster.

16. Also, stalking the electric company trucks and kidnapping the nice landman who came down from Canada to turn the lights back on for you doesn't help either.

17. I was just kidding on number 16.

18. Really.

19. It feels really good when the water comes back on. Even when it's cold. Because it means you can pull the plug on the water in the bathtub, which starts to take on a funky aroma on day 3. Even if you did clean it out with bleach beforehand. It also means you can take showers again. And believe you me, by day 3, you are smelling a wee bit funky.

20. Somehow, you get through.

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