Lucky for us this weekend's soccer game and the Girl Scout training I had registered for over a month ago were cancelled this weekend so we Austinites could brace ourselves for the brunt of the hurricane. Gas stations were running out of gas, grocery stores were running out of water on Thursday. Costco has their portable generators displayed prominently at the entrance and as we sat and enjoyed our pizza this afternoon I watched as four of the $700 behemoths began the journey to their new homes.

So, maybe you'd expect it to look like this today.

Really, it looks more like this.

Wait a minute. I'm having déjà vu! This is very reminiscent of Hurricane Rita three years ago, right after Katrina had devastated New Orleans and the Lousiana / Mississippi coast. The country was still reeling from the massive failures to secure the safety of hundreds of thousands of people. Then along comes Rita. No slacker was she! She packed a big wollop and Austin braced for the fury. Flashlights, batteries, water, gas, bread were all snatched off store shelves. Preparations were made for storm of cataclysmic proportions. Events were cancelled.

And while Port Arthur, Texas was being hammered by Rita's ravaging winds and rain, Austin was 100 degrees under a cloudless sky.

My point is this. It does not diminish the severity of the storm to acknowledge that it possibly may not be calamitous HERE. We should do everything we can to shelter evacuees and provide assistance in getting people to safety. But Austin's demise is not going to happen in the eye of a hurricane and here's why. We are above sea level. We don't have sub-par levees or sea walls protecting us from the storm surge - because there is no storm surge - because we are 200 miles from the closest coast. Yes, we might get buckets of rain and yes, we might have strong winds. Tornadoes even. But must we act as if the apocalypse is coming?

In fact, our self-centered focus on ourselves at a time when our neighbors and loved ones at the coast are facing REAL peril is, is, is....well, it's self-centered.

Not that I wouldn't have liked to see some rain come our way. Just a little.


Jamie said...

You! You're always such a breath of fresh air.

Your post is written so well and to the point, and is EXACTLY how I felt this past weekend. Thank you for putting my thoughts down so eloquently!

and! P.S. I was at Costco yesterday (the Monday after the storm) and the generators were selling like hot cakes still! Craig and I just stood there baffled as people not only bought one, but TWO at a time.

KT said...

Just have to speak up to say the generators aren't being bought for the people of Austin. They're being bought for and by the thousands of evacuees heading home to no power for who knows how long. Now, I would not be one to head home with NO POWER in my future. I'd take a vacation. Or I think I would. We never know what we'd do to protect our home until we're in that situation and just need to SEE and evaluate and repair damage in our world and our heart. That's also where the tarps are going. And the box fans. And the bottled water. And the gas cans. We've got thousands of people in our city right now who don't "belong to us." And you can tell 'em by their dazed look and their sad eyes.

Bubble Girl said...

You are so right KT! It dawned on me yesterday at the mall when I saw SO MANY KIDS - in the middle of the day! My first thought was I didn't realize there were so many homeschoolers and what a fun lesson to go to the mall! But then it occurred to me that these are kids who have been ripped away from their homes and really don't know when they'll be returning home or what they'll find when they get there. I really do live in a bubble, but hopefully, every now and then, some light gets in.

KT said...

Now, I FIRMLY BELIEVE going to the mall is a FINE LESSON in something!! :)