I am sitting here on a Wednesday evening, my head heavy, dizzy with information regarding this impending hurricane that may, or may not, impact my home and neighbors in the coming days. It is over the Caribbean tonight, hundreds of miles south-east of us, but it effects are already vivid these past few days.
The shelves at grocery stores are barren – stripped clean – of water and bread, batteries and, oddly, potato chips. It seems potato chips are popular for hurricane preparedness. I have not noted them on any checklist available on the many websites and news channels offering survival tips. Yet, they are gone. Gasoline too,is at a premium. A week before a landing there has been a rush on gas stations. I had a full tank on Tuesday morning. Today, I am half empty from driving store to store, gas station to gas station looking for a chance I might gain a little water or top off my tank.
I see people wide-eyed and some head shaking when they stop dead and see the shelves or pumps, empty. There are the inevitable conversations, “Are you going to evacuate?” and the reply is usually, no, they will ride this one out. I wonder if so many are riding it out, why no gas? I don’t believe them. I think they want to seem brave in the face of an impending Old Testament storm. I am planning on leaving if it is near us, the track of the storm. According to the news stations the whole state and the Gulf and Atlantic are in the path. It is so far away… they can’t guess where it will go.
Just like in my mind,the spaghetti models twist through the state, a peninsula, surrounded by warm tropical waters are fuel for these monster storms. It seems this fuel never runs dry for them until they hit land and tire out without water to fuel it. Just like us humans. Ironic? At any rate, worried friends and family want to know where we will go and when. That is a good question. According to the Weather Channel no place is safe. Any place I would go, they say, “Tampa, Naples, Orlando, Jacksonville – Don’t take this storm lightly, get out.” So I wait. I have folks call and ask me, “Where should we go?” I answer in my head – good question. It is an eerie feeling – impending doom.
Driving home tonight the sky was dark and ominous. It had nothing to do with Irma, it was just a regular light rain, unusual for Florida. We are used to big rain and then suddenly, the sun returns. Tonight was different. I could see the sun diving for safety behind the clouds on its way west, leaving us here in the east for another evening. This sunset seemed more foreboding. Another day less to prepare. I will put up my storm shutters in the morning. I will shower and go to work.
These last few mornings I have wondered, will I be able to shower next week? As I adjust my thermostat, I wonder how long can I go without air conditioning in this South Florida heat and humidity, then I think, do I want to know? I guess I could bathe in the pool. Should I buy a generator? No gas to put in it. Do I have enough batteries? Where are our flashlights. The checklist seems endless.
I look forward to Monday morning next week when Irma will pass us by and someone up north will be thinking, just like I am now…
May God Bless those it Irma’s path. Be safe.