I’m sure many of you saw the hilarious image that was doing the rounds last week. The caption was “Surviving Hurricane Isaac 2012” above a picture of a garden chair blown over. It was pretty funny. But I have to admit to being a little disappointed that Isaac didn’t really bother to show up . . . in Miami at least.
As a hurricane virgin, I was bracing myself for all the drama that other past hurricanes have been known to leave behind. So to say I felt a little cheated is an understatement. Isaac had started out with promise. As early as two Wednesdays ago the Weather Channel was in full-blown panic mode. We all knew it was serious when the guys on the weather channel didn’t bother to wear business jackets, instead opted for the “rolled-up shirt sleeve” look. It was then I knew it was serious. This particular weather channel “look” is to indicate the gravity of the situation and must be tackled wearing such attire. As if to reinforce the gravity of the situation a computer screen behind them swirled with graphics signifying impending doom. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear they were engineering a massive corporate takeover or mass layoffs.
It was addictive viewing. Every couple of hours an important-looking old guy from the National Hurricane Center would make comparisons to Hurricane Andrew and tell us to think about evacuation plans for our families. They kept showing us “The Cone” hovering over South Florida and I found myself strangely excited. As if I finally had purpose in my life; to survive Hurricane Isaac. I was starting to wonder should I make a will and get my affairs in order.
Due to the cone image over Florida worried relatives called me from Ireland. “Are you going to be OK?” they asked. “Tell everyone back home that I love them” I choked, bravely, fighting back the tears.
If this wasn’t enough to send me into Publix to buy 45 gallons of bottled water, we had Channel 7 reporters donning rain-soaked ponchos. The rain-soaked poncho appears to be de rigueur in the weather-reporting world. At one point when wind gusts got up to . . . OMG! . . . 35 miles per hour, a frightened reporter asked a bemused onlooker to recount, in step by step detail, the exact moment “the branch came down.”
Hmmm. I was beginning to suspect the weather guys might be scraping the bottom of the news barrel.
However, many Miamians around me were panicking so I decided to take precaution. I figured if Miamians were in a panic, then I should be in a panic. Besides, I didn’t want to be the only house on the street without hurricane shutters (oh the shame) so I caved in and went into full-blown (pardon the pun) apocalyptic mode.
During my aforementioned emergency mission to Publix I began to feel “hurricane comradery” among my fellow shoppers. It was a beautiful thing. Even though the parking lot and aisles were jammed packed with trollies loaded full of bottled water, batteries and nonperishables, everyone was polite and offering me hurricane advice. I was told to try to get to Home Depot and get my hands on a generator as power could be down for days, possibly weeks!
By Sunday evening the war-like comradery was beginning to wane, along with Hurricane Isaac. Then came the really tragic news . . . the schools would be closed! What was I going to do stuck in a house with three kids and 45 gallons of bottled water? Lots and lots of “bored games” was the answer from my 8-year-old. Great. As the cone of disaster inched its way west and away from Miami the novelty of Isaac was wearing off. Issac was officially a damp squid.
In the end, all Isaac delivered in Miami was five extra pounds across my waste line and the unanswered question, “Who will drink the 45 gallons of bottled water now sitting in my kitchen?”
As Miami dodged the bullet our thoughts should be with New Orleans. Those living there and in nearby parts of the Gulf Coast are the ones who really got socked by Isaac.
Lucie O’Sullivan is a freelance writer in Miami.