While there is plenty to accomplish while prepping for the storm, the only high priority five alarm items I have on the nefarious gay agenda here in Mount Dora today is to score some bottled water and/or find containers to store tap water. Not succeeding in my quest as of yet but we still have a few days if the hurricane prediction track holds true.
Floridians have been watching the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Texas with empathy and understanding. While not all of us have experienced the complete devastation of historic record breaking flooding, many of us know exactly what it is like to live with anxiety over that impending “cone of uncertainty.” We know how surreal it is to go into survival mode and watch an entire city/state wake up like a swarm of bees 24/7. We know what it is like to hear the winds howling, blinding rain, and sometimes sirens blaring (spinoff tornadoes) wondering if we will be ok and if our friends will be ok. We know how to prep, assess and deal with property damage, blocked roads, power outages for days (some longer), and sometimes deal with personal loss.
It sucks. Completely.
Today’s mission was to get stocked up on gas, water, and basics. Gas was much more expensive than the last time I bought it, and I had to wait in line at the station. As I was pumping gas everyone was talking to everyone else about the price hike and how crazy it was at various stores. I went to Walmart, Target, Publix, and Aldi. Well, I didn’t actually go into Aldi because I couldn’t find a parking spot for 20 minutes and people were crazy driving; I got out of there.
As I waited in the massive Walmart line with my bread, toilet paper, Gatorade, margarita mix (essential I tell you), and other things, I thought, “Any moment some mean-spirited religious person is going to say that this is further evidence of God’s judgment against …” blah blah blah. And then it occurred to me, “So what? Why are you standing here thinking of that? Pay attention to the people around you; that God has seen fit to put right in front of your face.”
That’s when I noticed the Sheriff, an officer and a firefighter in the line behind me. They were having fun teasing each other, but they were also encouraging each other that regardless of how hectic it might get, they got it covered and under control. As I was leaving, I noticed a 50 something man tell a 70 something woman, “Of course I will help you find your car? What does it look like?”
And as I pushed my shopping cart away from my car toward the return bin, snagging up other carts people haphazardly left in various spots along the way to put in the bin as well, I looked up at the sky and called Hurricane Irma something that is probably not Jesus approved.
You know… I am not perfect. I call weather systems cuss words. It happens. It’s part of my “warts and all” disclaimer when people say they love me.
Back to the point, for those directly in the path of danger, this isn’t about politics or fear-mongering. It isn’t about culture war talking points or negative attention seeking opportunists. It’s genuinely about trying to not run over the 50-year-old dude helping a 70-year-old woman trying to find her car while you are looking for bottled water. It’s about doing what you can to provide for and protect your loved ones and taking comfort in seeing your neighbors and local first responders behaving with confidence and compassion.
And for those of us inclined to do so, this time before the storm is about prayer as well. Prayer for the survivors of Harvey and praying for our own safety; that Irma will suddenly swing north and die out at sea missing everyone.
It’s good to stay focused on the positive right there in front of my face, preparing for the worst while praying for the best, being intentionally grateful, and of course randomly cussing at a hurricane under my breath.
Being free is good,