I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Hurricane Wilma

I'm in no condition to write, so I will.

I know I'm off work tomorrow, because when the great Penninsula of Florida is under a hurricane warning, namely the County of Miami-Dade, my office building is closed. Ergo, I do not have to show up tomorrow to write a source-code escrow agreement.

What is that?

I dunno.

So, I sit here, at 3 a.m., drunk and other stuff, and writing.

For y'all bitchazz northerners, who aren't familiar with the 'canes we get here in the M.I.A., here's how it works: Everyone freaks out. Last year, everyone freaked at the last minute. This year, a week before the storm comes, everyone buys water, canned soup and gas; and batteries and flashlights and tarps and duct tape, and generators and godknowswhatelse.

We all hoard these things, making extra ice and freezing cases of Dasani water. We caulk our bathtubs, and fill them with water. We iron extra clothes so we have pressed things when we go to work. We gas up our cars, we move our files off our desks in our offices. Some of us tape up our windows. We charge our cellphones, we buy cheap non-electric phones to plug into the wall. We buy smokes and booze and have a battery-operated radio.

Most important of all: we take our balcony furniture off the balcony, we wedge paper towels in our door jambs, and we jack the a/c down to 65.

It's a bitch when the outside temperature is 87 degrees and there ain't no air conditioning, and the weather feels like a New Orleans summer day in Joo-lie.

And then we wait. We wait as the storm churns above Cuba. We wait as it churns above the Yucatan. And then, it gets humid.

And then it gets cloudy.

And then it gets breezy.

And then we log onto www.weather.com and look at the forecast for 33146, and see the massive Category III storm coming for us. We know we'll be without power, possibly without water, and that trees are going to get uprooted. Our beloved Coral Gables, a post-card from 1920's-1940's-2005's excess will transform from a ficus-tunneled, Banyan-swathed stuccoed Florida Mansion paradise, to a wasteland of shattered rooftiles, obliterated and splintered trees and bent gutters; overflowed canals, swamped golf courses, and spoiled Publix hamburger meat, passed over in the dark, while paying with cash for damp aspirin.

During the storm, we pray that the palms outside our window don't come into our apartment, and we pray that the power outages are only temporary. We will not use candles, because they generate too much heat.

We know there will be wind, and standing water, and the stink of hot, wet rot. The stink of hot, wet clothes. The stink of hot, wet photographs. The computer will go off, as will the lights and the a/c.

Wind will howl and drive rain like we've never seen it. Things we've never thought of banging will bang and clank. Power lines will snap, and the sky will light up green and red and blue as electric transformers explode.

Wind stings faces and sandblasts complexions, legs bared, and NorthFace Jackets pummeled. Toilets get sucked dry as the pressure drops and whisks their empty blue contents to Virginia Key.

Tornado warnings will abound, but who will care? And who will seek protection? It is impossible to listen for the freight train, when trains are barrelling in every direction. The palms will hiss and the rain will spit. The pool will darken from light blue, to blue-brown, to black.

WaaaaaAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOH, screams the wind through every crack, as darkness falls, and the power fails.

Darkness falls, and the only sounds heard come, not from automobies, but from coconut palms, swaying and creaking and rustling. Wind, jabbing through every available space. Fire doors, knocking like the desperate homeless, clawing to get out of the storm, to be greeted by deaf ears.

As I write this, I see the first flashes. I hear the first roars of an all-night and all day vigil of gnashing and screaming. The Metro has ceased rumbling. The sky is dark as the University has dimmed its lights in anticipation of the power failures. The coconut palms whisper, increasingly more urgently...

And Miami waits.


For our Third storm this season; Second big one...

A category Three.

From the Southwest.

With her tornadoes, and her rain and her 115 mile per hour sustained, 138 mile per hour gusty winds. Come on, Wilma. You've ambled towards us for almost a week.

Let's have some closure. Let's see what you can do. You will bring with you hell and high water... storm surges, and missile-driven stones.

We're over it. Let's have done with this...until next year. I'll have shutters. I'll have a generator. I'll have frozen food and air conditioning, and I'll stop caring when the salt clings to my car and I can have a full week at work. In two months of working... I've had... what? Maybe four? Five full weeks of work? I'm not complaining, but I'm just saying... geez. This... this is disruptive.

We're over it.

We know how Ft. Pierce and Port Charlotte feel.

Granted, those cities are populated by rednecks but we Cosmopolitan people are are feeling your pain; and this isn't supposed to happen to us.

We're good people.