23 August 2011

Can't You Hear Me Knocking?

It's been a bit of a day, truth be told.  What started out as a usual Tuesday ended up with a bit of worry about an approaching hurricane including thoughts about renters' flood insurance and worries about exploding beer in my brew room.  That and I experienced my first earthquake (which apparently was an experience shared with most of the East coast).

The earthquake, I admit, was surprising as hell, because we aren't supposed to get those kinds of phenomenon here.  Earthquakes, raging wildfires, mudslides, El Nino sandstorms...those are the kinds of things we have gladly surrendered to our cousins out West.  In exchange, they get that expansive Pacific Ocean to gaze at, their news programming on a delay, and some spectacular scenery along the Pacific Coast Highway.  We get snow and wicked nor'easters up in the North, and mosquitoes the size of small toddlers down here in the South.  Trust me, we always knew the Western cousins weren't really getting the better end of the deal.

This afternoon, though, I was at work, explaining an online computer project when what I thought was a strong breeze pulled at the edge of our roof line soffitt, or so I thought...so much so, that I actually ventured outdoors to check out the roof.   Simultaneously, another co-worker three doors down from me experienced the same sensation and began to think her walls suddenly shifted inward.  And yet another co-worker four doors from me thought the building had been hit by a runaway dump truck.  Weird, very weird...same earthquake, but three completely different theories to its sensation.  And we were all trying to find proof to support our hypotheses.

Upon reading these thoughts now, though, clearly they were all pretty damn implausible to happen in broad daylight.  However, if you had told us that it was an earthquake that hit our company instead, to a person we would have laughed you out of our roof damaged, wall enclosing, dump truck damaged home away from home.  Some things you can't really believe happened unless you experience it yourself; and sometimes you still don't readily believe the truth when revealed.  The rest of this afternoon's conversations was spent on validating and reassuring each others' reactions...and damn it, the tremor itself only lasted 10 seconds.

That drama subsided for now, the focus for the next few days turns to the 'impending' landfall of Hurricane Irene onto the Eastern seaboard shores.  It's Tuesday as I write this; landfall is expected sometime over the weekend...if it happens at all.  Apparently, as every weather forecaster from here to DC and back down to Georgia reminds us, determining the actual landfall strike zone area is a far less accurate science than predicting where a spinning top will come to rest.  However, some islands in NC are starting evacuation tomorrow morning...not so much because everyone is sure of Irene's path, but because it takes 2 days' time to get these folks off those islands (have to use ferries, one lane roads, etc).  These remote island getaways in NC are 'remote' for a reason...and nothing about them, under the current conditions anyway, screams 'quick evacuation'.

The North Carolina Governor, Beverly Purdue, has made the traditional flip-sided appeal of both being prepared, but also not getting too worked up about this early forecast, either.   And in a telling nod to our tourism economy, she used her famous 'school librarian with chocolate chip cookie'-like tones to also not discourage potential visitors to come into the state these last few days of the official summer travel season.  I honestly cannot remember her ever doing so in any potential weather event in the past, but then again tourism is one of our main industries...and we need to keep everybody employed in it as long as we can.  So actually we're now (1) getting prepared (and in some places, evacuating), (2) not worrying about getting prepared, but (3) still inviting folks on in to come join in the fun.  Bad news is we take Southern hospitality seriously here all the time, and that tradition is always the high card, and so it effectively cancels out (2) and (3) above.  After all, somebody has to worry about the barbecue, biscuits, and greens, damn it.  I just hope that the Gov and all the weather geek forecaster types are correct in predicting that Irene's gonna continue to head out east, and maybe not even come ashore at all...otherwise, we may have a lot of hurricane newbies sweatin' it out.  And that, except for the alcohol consumed at the hurricane parties, does not make for a good vacay. 

With all respect to Gov Chocolate Chip and her advisers, though, I've decided to follow the slightly more universal emergency prep method:  I'm going with the guidelines set forth by the CDC earlier this year...in case of a zombie apocalypse.  (And, yes, this is from the real CDC.  Humour while educating, what a freakin' concept that's so rarely deployed.  Kudos to the authors for making it an internet sensation that many of us, like me, remember to reference in a time of need.)  I figure if my beloved Federal government is already this forward thinking, most everything I would need to do for a simple hurricane should be covered in this cheat sheet.  (Except a chainsaw, which got omitted from their list somehow...one really does need a chainsaw in both hurricane clean-up and zombie survival.  And gloves, really thick and sturdy and bite-proof gloves.)

With that said, I'm off now to the Kroger/Piggly Wiggly/Food Lion/Lowes (I don't shop Harris Teeter, sorry) to stock up on recently marked up hurricane 'foodstuffs'.  I'm going to fight off other tourism-defenders who are willing to take a chance their milk won't sour after we lose electricity in Irene's aftermath. Maybe I should get the gloves first??

Happy non-prepping, neighbours.

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