Reading about Hurricane Irene and how people are getting ready (or making fun of people getting ready) makes me feel like I should be doing something. Like rushing to the grocery store and buying all the buttermilk and quinoa, or canceling plans (not that we have any), or preparing to hunker down all weekend with movies and a good book (which I may do anyway).
The only hurricane I remember experiencing was Hurricane Gloria, back in 1985. I was in the eighth grade, and got into an argument with my dad who insisted school for me wasn’t canceled the next day although my brother’s was and, more importantly, it was officially announced on the news. My father thought only the younger kids didn’t have to go to school, and that I as an old junior higher-er still did, although I kept pointing at the TV and yelling, “There! It says Clifton T. Barkalow school canceled! THERE! THERE!”
Unlike with my mother, I could argue with my father without apocalyptic repercussions, and when he was finally convinced I did not have to weather the “storm of the century” to go to school the next day, he apologized.
Yesterday I checked in with my mom. “The grocery store was soooo crowded!” she said. People were going nuts, acting like it was the end of the world. Her friend was supposed to have a mah-jongg party on Sunday, and the friend’s daughter insisted she cancel. “You can’t go outside at all!” she told her mother, who apparently wants the party to go.
“You guys grew up in Taiwan,” I said. “A hurricane’s no big deal.”
“Yeah,” my mother said. “We know typhoon.”
On the other hand, my mother hadn’t heard a thing about the earthquake earlier in the week. “Did you guys feel the earthquake?” I asked that day.
Needless to say, they didn’t feel it nor even know about it till I told them.
One natural disaster at a time.