Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Limbo Schtick

Posted By on Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 5:55 PM

click to enlarge 1limbo1.jpg

If there’s one thing these evacuations have taught me it’s that most people… OK, I can’t speak for everyone… it’s that I (and probably many others) despise being in a state of limbo. Hurricane season puts us in that state repeatedly and in so many ways that I’d suggest we call it Limbo Season if that didn’t also happen to be the name of that charming tropical balancing game that inebriated tourists enjoy so much on Caribbean vacations. How is it that being bent over backwards precariously perched halfway between standing and falling while trying to negotiate an ever more narrow window of opportunity provides raucous entertainment in the context of palm trees, pina coladas, ukuleles and grass skirts while the analogous situation in the context of a hurricane threat causes nothing but torturous anxiety?

Hurricane limbo sucks.

As soon as a potential threat to Louisiana's Gulf Coast appears, we become a dead state walking, hoping against hope for a last minute reprieve from the National Hurricane Center. We watch the weather wonks on TV warning us to keep an eye on this or that tropical system in the Atlantic even though it’ll be a week and a half before it enters the Gulf of Mexico. We stock up on fuel, provisions, munitions, prescriptions, hotel reservations and libations and put our regularly scheduled lives on hold while we play wait and see. We sit powerless (often in both senses of the word) in hotel rooms, the living rooms of friends and relatives, fishing camps, high school gymnasiums, Red Cross shelters, barrooms and airport lounges waiting for storms to pass, wondering what’s happening back home and hoping we’re allowed to return quickly. We wait for power to be restored, schools to reopen, stores to stock their shelves, trash and debris to be removed. We wait for news of relatives and friends who choose to stay behind in hard-hit areas or who, like myself, ironically manage to seek refuge in locations that are more dangerous and life-threatening than the homes they left behind. We wait for help to arrive with food, clothing, shelter, protection and funds. We wait for authorities and insurance companies to acknowledge the obvious and declare that a loss has occurred so that we can finally get the help that should have been immediately forthcoming. We don’t know when or even if we’ll stand up straight again or if this is the time our backs can’t bend any further, our balance fails and we tumble helplessly to the ground. When that happens, I hope there are plenty of palm trees, pina coladas and grass skirts around. You can keep the ukuleles.

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