Sunday, August 28, 2011

If your apartment is hit by a dolphin, DO NOT GO OUT TO SEE IF THE DOLPHIN IS OKAY. That's how the hurricane tricks you into coming outside.

Just in case you, like me, 1)don't watch the news, 2) only only listen to Stuff You Should Know podcasts, and 3) only read McSweeny's for political updates, then, let me tell you, there was a hurricane bound for the East Coast this weekend.

I've never been in a hurricane before, and the build-up was all new to me. I've never had so much warning for a natural disaster. Earthquakes are more of a "pop-in" type catastrophe. It was a little stressful, but not too bad, as we were asked by our area authority (for church) back in July to start preparing as if there was going to be a hurricane in late August or early September. I wouldn't go so far as to say I was totally prepared, but, I was, admittedly, better prepared than I was in July. Let's just say this, I wasn't hauling home cases of water on Friday, that's for sure. I did buy fixings for root beer floats. Listen, I don't know what a hurricane is like, and everyone says you should have comfort foods on hand. I find floats comfortable.

We filled our bathtub with water, brought in all our plants, readied our 72 hour kits in case of evacuation (we're technically in the flood plain), and got batteries for our radio (er, iPod dock with a radio--we don't have one of those crank radios. we're not libertarians for crying out loud), and just kind of hung out.

Saturday was unnerving for that reason. Just that weirdo waiting feeling. It was overcast and raining, and maybe a little tense. Also, I didn't feel awesome, and lost a game of Phase 10 we were playing, so, Saturday was rough.

The winds picked up at night, but blew down 4th Ave, so we could open the windows (cautiously) without being soaked with the torrential rain. The fire department next door was busy all night. The early morning weather was the worst of it, lots of rain, lots of wind. It started tapering about 10, and by 12, James and I ventured out for exploration purposes.

The damage is . . . relative. Downed leaves in some places, uprooted trees in others.

So, I'll say this about hurricanes (Category 1 and downward): The build-up is bizarre, with people running around like crazy, clearing out stores of bread and beer and batteries. The waiting--in a humid, still apartment with all the windows closed--is deeply unnerving. The storm itself is something else altogether. Scary and captivating. What was most unexpected for me was the smell of the storm. We had the windows open on occasion, and this smell, this amazing ocean water smell, swept up the avenue. Not the smell of the beach or the shore, but this inexplicably familiar smell of deep, deep ocean. It was so bewitching to find it in Brooklyn, it seemed almost a shame to shut the windows against it. In that way, the storm seemed a little sinister--the way it lured you.

It's over now. The wind continues, with just a little rain. But the wind still carries that smell.

*photos taken in Red Hook, Brookyn
**title take from this guy's twitter feed.

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