Monday, August 20, 2007

Sympathy for the People in Mexico

It's that time of year again. And what a way to start it off right-- Category 5 Hurricane beats on 5 countries. It makes me glad that I don't live in Florida anymore and have to coordinate my vacation schedule with hurricane season. No kidding-- my parents just got back from San Francisco and are glad they didn't have to fly home sooner (or in the case of a Cat 5, stay longer). So they are sitting at home for all of September and early October just in case. They have it down to a science now. All of the major financial and identifying information is already packed up in rubbermaid boxes easy to just pick up and throw in the car, family jewelry and photos are likewise in pre-packed containers, and they have a new speed record on packing food and clothes in the car for an 18 hour drive.

Remember when you were in elementary school and you had to pretend that if a fire started in your house what 1 item would you take with you? I think the whole exercise was to try to get you to remember your siblings and pets, but my family is practiced in it. We do not just take one thing, but one pre-packed waterproof container that has everything we really value and can absolutely not be replaced.

So now my sympathy goes out for all those people living in the Caribbean, Jamaica, and Mexico (and possibly Belize, depending on where Dean lands). They are going to get demolished. I don't think people truly understand the power that wind and rain can cause, but when you've seen thick steel signs (the highway ones that are 20ft high and about 5 feet in diameter) twisted like a pretzel on the side of the road after a hurricane, all you can do is cower to the power of mother nature. I'm always amazed at people who say they're going to stay in their house and "protect it" from the elements. All I have to say is- dearie, the steel, cement, and wood frame of your house is a LOT stronger than your bones and don't believe for a second you're really that strong to push back the sea. Because, really, that's what you're fighting.

I read that Dean will be pushing 25-30 foot waves onto the beach. I've seen waves half that size pick up houses out of their foundation (and these were SECURE foundations) and lift them out into the sound. When the homeowners came back, they found their house 1,000 feet away sitting in the water. Yes, everyone wants to live "on" the water, but not quite literally.

Anyway, this time of year always brings out the melancholy helplessness in me. Best of luck to all those people who have to face Dean. I hope you make it through.