Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia.
As you know from my most recent blog, we evacuated from Sarasota in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. Having driven tandem to Atlanta, my wife and I are still camping out with dear friends here. They invited us. We didn’t just drop in, although I admit we arrived looking like an upscale, contemporary version of Grapes of Wrath complete with clothing and treasures stacked to the car ceilings.
It was our plan to avoid Irma. Once she had passed Florida and moved Northeast into the Atlantic, we would jump in the cars and return home. Apparently Irma didn’t receive my mental email because, in much weaker form, she followed us to Atlanta complete with tree damage, power outages, and roadway disruption. This meant we were trapped here an extra couple of days. Disruptive change yet again. Then, with an all clear and the cars repacked, we received news that rivers might be flooding and the major route, I75, might be closed. Departure for home delayed again.
The good news is that Sarasota dodged the bullet. Our house is fine.We have electricity and air conditioning. Provided the torrent of returning Floridians has diminished and gasoline is available en route, we’ll drive home tomorrow.
Actually, I am thinking of ordering matching t-shirts for my wife and me – black with red lettering. Mine will say “Agile” on the back. Hers will say “Adaptable” on the back.
Given this extra time in Atlanta, I have spent some time thinking about our communications during these several days of waiting, not knowing, and feeling powerless. Good friends from home and around the country have been calling and emailing us. I am amazed at the sincerity and diversity of people’s choices. Those to whom we are consistently connected have checked on us. People we haven’t connected with recently have reached out in amazing numbers. Our appreciation to all!
I have told Houston friends I grieve for their huge losses. It’s true. I have also expressed my appreciation for the warning Harvey provided to the rest of us. Without that storm and the intrepid, amazing citizens of Houston, I’m not sure we would have taken Irma as seriously and early as we did. Nothing like a timely object lesson.
A friend who elected to stay in his Sarasota house with his wife and ride Irma out just told me by phone that in case that was our final conversation, he wanted me to know how deeply he has appreciated our friendship.
A friend in Northern California wanted to make sure we were safe from the tyranny of hurricanes, pointing out how hard it is from her standpoint to live with extended hurricane uncertainty. Then she pointed out that she lives 25 yards from the San Andreas earthquake fault. Hmmmmmm.
Another Sarasota friend told me they were busily boarding up their windows and settling in. Then she admitted they were considering evacuating at the last moment. Not because they felt unsafe in their house but because of the barrage of calls demanding evacuation they were receiving from family members who live in other regions of the country. The calls were, for those Sarasota residents, more draining and debilitating than their perception of the storm’s danger.
Another friend in Northern Wisconsin, who thinks nothing of being seasonally snowed and iced in for days at a time, with and without electricity, wanted to know how I stand the combination of ongoing humidity and potential hurricanes. Hmmmmmm.
A San Francisco friend, prompted by Irma, checked to make sure we were OK, which reminded me how many faces OK can have. The temperature in San Francisco hit 104F degrees the other day. San Francisco is, at least residentially, notoriously low on air conditioning. After all, it has its own, natural air conditioning with cold air (and fog) rushing in from the Pacific. San Francisco at 104F? It’s a good thing global change is a hoax (NOT!) or we could be in real trouble.
A Portland, Oregon friend texted us to make sure we evacuated and were OK. Her text included instructions that we call our across-the-country family members, who are undoubtedly worried. Apparently, she thinks that without her prompt we aren’t bright enough to think of and do it on our own.
A Bradenton, FL friend wanted to park his wife’s car in our (now empty) garage during the storm because, despite 5 years of promises, his own double car garage is still so full of accumulated, unrelated treasures that he couldn’t fit a unicycle in to protect it. We’ll see if Irma produces garage cleanup action that nothing else has forced.
What we know for sure is how idiosyncratic and individual all of our friends are. From the clarifying vantage point of us as Hurricane Irma evacuees, we clearly wouldn’t have it any other way. Our sincere thanks to each and all of our friends for checking in with us. We love how fully each one of you is living your choices and your life.
When it’s your time for a tornado, an earthquake, a flood, a tsunami, a massive snow/ice storm, a volcanic eruption, or simply an important surprise in your life, we’ll do our best to be there for you.