Another Summer, Another Storm

The drama of preparing for a hurricane is something that most people experience indirectly; it’s presented by someone in a suit sitting behind a desk and followed up by sports highlights. Living in an area where the preparation is ocurring is a different matter entirely.

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The image above, from the locally-run weather site CapeCodWeather.Net (full disclosure, I have a family connection to this site), shows a sampling of several days of headlines making mention of Hurricane Irene. It hints at the rising tension in a community whose fight or flight response is tested very rarely, and with good reason even more rarely still. Many residents have first-hand experience of how destructive even a weak hurricane can be, but two weeks of full-time news coverage leading up to a storm like Irena has a strange effect on people.

I, for one, end up feeling unable to deal with the reality of a potential disaster. Repeatedly performing the ritual of facing danger and then rationalizing it away seems to leave me feeling paralyzed in some way. Not afraid, just mentally dead inside. I think I can understand how people end up staying in their homes despite the warnings to evacuate.

The storm turned out to be a disaster in areas far removed from the coastline, where people were told to hunker down and seek shelter, even evacuate. I find myself wondering what the mental state is of a homeowner in Vermont who could never have prepared himself for the reality of having their house filled with mud by a storm that was in Africa two weeks earlier, especially after watching the news for two weeks about how much trouble New York City had coming to it.

So is the solution to take approaching storms more seriously? Or is there even a problem? Am I over thinking my level of preparedness? Am I the only one who finds it difficult to decided exactly how much to prepare? I’m not ready for a real storm. Or am I? Or was that a real storm and I did a fantastic job preparing? Katia is out there in the Atlantic. Do I worry about THIS one now?

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