Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Liveblogging Hurricane Isaac, Part 1

"It's a good time to stay inside and listen to the radio," says my friendly NPR newscaster. "Alright," I agree. It's nasty out there.

And so welcome, Dear Reader, to my first hurricane experience on the Gulf Coast!

The great indoors
As Isaac bears down to make landfall in Louisiana, I have been alternating among moving shit inside from my yard, consulting friends and neighbors to gauge how freaked out / not freaked out I should be, trying to placate my parents and other concerned citizens, and getting steadily drunker by the hour. All of these activities bring their own stresses and joys, which I will chronicle here as long as the power stays on.

Creative parking on my block

My roommate and I just finished clearing the yard and moving our cars to higher ground (ie: the sidewalk). It has been raining on-and-off this morning, and I had a cartoonish experience earlier today trying to bike against the wind down St. Claude  after bartering some C batteries for a container of milk across town at my friend A.'s house.

A. told me that at work she was instructed by her boss to keep calm because she's a manager and the other employees would seek guidance from her during this uncertain time. "I told him that if he expects people to look at me to be a beacon of strength during a natural disaster, they need to look somewhere else," A. said.

I feel her on that. We are getting reports of conflicting urgency about this storm. Though our mayor has said repeatedly that the sewerage pumps are fully operational and the city is structurally expected to pull through this, we are also getting "tornado watch" warnings via text from the National Weather Service, and hysterical admonitions from news media to "hunker down," whatever that actually means.

So it's hard to know how seriously to take all this. I was at Wal-Mart the other day to pick up materials for my own "hunkering down," and as I am a relative novice to these situations, I took the opportunity to survey other people's carts and see what they considered essentials. I found the following items to be the most popular, in no particular order:
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Bottled Water
  • Bread
  • Condoms
  • Booze
  • Ice Cream
I can get down with all those except the ice cream - what kind of practical purchase is that if the power is expected to go out? But it is cute to see how people are not losing their sense of humor through this. What would you want to have if you were going to be stuck in your house for a few days?

Okay, that's all I got for now, except a very big thank-you to everyone who offered me a place to stay during the storm. I think I have enough canned beans and adult beverages to see me through.

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