They haven’t seen anything like what’s coming at us in 25, 30 years, maybe ever. It’s tremendously big and tremendously wet.”
Donald Trump, President of the United States, September 11, 2018
I swear to you, honest, I promised myself that I wasn’t going to rise another day and write another column on the unrivaled ignorance found inside Donald Trump’s insufficiently medicated mind. I wasn’t, and you’re just going to have to go with me on this, no matter how rich the material, it does actually get old after a while.
But, I live in hurricane country, about 50 miles from the warm waters off the Gulf of Mexico. I know, I know, it’s just …a story for another day.
I experienced Katrina’s devastation firsthand, again, 50 miles from the shore. I got a hotel as far away from any tree, old sign, whatever nature could turn into a bullet. As fate would have it, the hotel also had its ass to the wind that day, so that I – along with several dozen newly made friends – watched the entire thing, 110 mph gusts of wind and all, from outside. You cannot describe the power of a hurricane, at least I can’t, maybe Mark Twain could. You sort of have to “feel” the fker to know. The other thing you can’t know without “being in it” is that you are used to storm “fronts,” the kind that do us the relative favor of crashing through the neighborhood, and leaving as fast as they came. That’s the real devastation in a hurricane, the tropical storms spin and just meander their f’ing way, even stopping and going back!
So you sit there as it is getting bad, and for maybe 15 minutes, you think, “Huh, this is kind of cool, I’m in a hurricane.” Then it gets worse, and it’s not so cool. Then you check the TV – because at this point the damn power is still on! – and you realize you’re not even half way to the bad stuff yet, before you realize how much your ass is puckering. Then the power goes out, and only at that point do you come to the full horror, its just you and your god, who seems to be having a bit of a roe with you that day.
I survived, obviously. But, about 20 in my town that was 50 miles inland (bear in mind) did not. Like me they were sitting there ass-puckered, when a giant tree crashed down on their heads, there one minute, gone the next. It could be worse, you could survive the tree and be left with little to no quality of life.
Here’s another thing you don’t appreciate. You, dear reader, have absolutely no idea how many things run on electricity until it is gone, and I don’t mean gone for two hours, I mean gone for two weeks. Gas pumps are on my “forever will not forget” list. I actually did some preparation, couple cases of water, couple cases of soup, some sandwiches. I could not conceive that Walmart actually wouldn’t open in two days . Regardless, let’s talk ATM’s. Did you know they ran on electricity? Okay, I did, too. That’s why I got two-thousand cash out before it hit. It lasted me less than a week.
Air conditioning runs on electricity. You know that, too. What you likely don’t know is that by their very definition, a hurricane swoops up the hottest, most water sodden air you’ve ever felt, and blows an unneeded blanket right on top of you as the storm disappears north. The sun feels closer as it bears down on your soul. It is just so hot it will make you …completely underestimate how awful the heat can be when you don’t have a regular blast of AC dashing into 7-11.
It’s not like I’m some disaster expert, but I do happen to know about the seriousness of what is bearing down on the Carolinas. Prior to Katrina, we were rather blissfully unaware of the impact a thoroughly incompetent administration could have. The Carolinians watching Florence churn itself through the Atlantic are well and truly screwed, because they can price-in the cost of having the world’s biggest idiot oversee the federal resources that might otherwise be brought to bear upon the devastation.
He thinks he knows. “It’s tremendously wet.” Jackass, you have no flipping idea, even if you could speak English, which you can’t. You wouldn’t be able to put it into words. I tried, not that I’m a maestro. But I can say something beyond “tremendously big and tremendously wet.” Jesus Christ as a first responder …would be better. They will likely need him. I know I invoked His name quite often.
There is one thing about hurricanes you likely don’t know. In the weeks without power afterwards, you will look up into the night sky of your small city and see a milky ribbon stretching from horizon to horizon, one that you never knew existed, at least not until all traces of modernity left over a single, terrible, day.