Sunday, October 09, 2005

Rita’s Wrath (Shit, Florida, I’m Sorry)

I’m still sitting around with a lot undone. Limbs and leaves in huge piles in the back yard. Puttering at it, but mainly waiting for help to arrive. Getting by with a pint sized refrigerator while waiting to see if the real one ever airs out or has to be replaced. The insurance agent is not to be found, not now.

When I evacuated I went from the Beaumont area to West Monroe, Louisiana. My mother and I went to stay with her younger sister. It’s usually about a five-hour trip. The first half-hour of the trip took four and a half hours. The total took nine and a half hours. I’d never seen so many Texans be so well behaved in traffic. Just about everybody seemed convinced that this northward road was the path to salvation and there was almost none of the usual cutting across the grassy median and heading back the other way in a fit of impatience. Ambulances on the shoulder—two, three, five, even seven at a time—kept passing the double lanes of stop and start traffic; at first, I thought they were going to massive car wrecks up ahead, then I realized they were carrying away the people from rest homes, etc. As a whole people, we were bloody well LEAVING! Only the termites and the hardheads stayed, and they were endangered. A monster was coming.

Well, it did come. If you watched the news, you saw it, after a fashion. Still, if you weren’t here or if you didn’t come home to this frightful mess, you didn’t quite see it. It’s something different in reality than it is on the TV screen. In fact, when you get home to it, you may not even be able to see the TV screen. Though CNN, etc. have all ceased to act as if Southeast Texas even exists (Not enough deaths, I guess), some of us can’t even see the TV screens. I have a house, the same old televisions, and some day it will come back, but for now there’s no cable, no news channels. Umpteen tree limbs in the back yard knocked the cable to the ground and now hold it there. Other things are more important. So I can’t see the non-coverage by CNN of the Texas news. I can’t sit here and condemn the dirty rotten bastards for ignoring homes destroyed, whole yards destroyed, hundreds of thousands of structures damaged, hundreds of thousands of people left without power. Is this, I wonder, how I’ve treated Florida all these past bunch of hurricanes? It was no skin off my nose. Shit, Florida, I’m sorry; this is hell.

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Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! (At least put on your socks and pants.)