No Sympathy

I’ve been following Hurricane Ike since it formed way out in the Atlantic more than week ago.  I watched how it swept across the Turks & Caicos and levelled about 90 per cent of the houses there.  A reporter said it was like a scene out of the Twilight Zone because almost all of the trees had been uprooted and all the houses were completely flattened.  When it barrelled past Hispaniola and into Cuba as a Category 4 storm, I was like, “Yeah, fuck Gustav, Ike is where it’s at.”

Having watched these things for years, I guess I call myself a pretend storm chaser, even though I never leave the comfort of my living room.  I knew immediately once it got back into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico it would grow stronger.  I didn’t know it would get so big, almost the size of the Gulf of Mexico and pretty much as big as Texas, almost 900 miles across.  The eye of the storm was 50 miles wide, and that is rather unusual.

I don’t know, call me stupid, but when someone says to me, “You’re facing certain death” if you stay instead of evacuating as suggesting, I’m on the next train out of Dodge.  People are so hard-headed.  Everywhere there is someone who thinks he is so big and bad that nothing can stop him.  I guess it’s that syndrome called hurricane fatigue that you get every summer.  I know, I been through that before.  I got tired of cleaning out trash cans so we can bring them into the house.  I got tired of tying up my bike only for that thing to wind up down the street anyway.  I got tired of cleaning up debris from storms.  I got tired of sitting in a hot dark house after the power had gone out.  I certainly got tired of boiling water just to quench my thirst or take a bath.  Whenever storms would come through when I lived on the island, the water was never safe to drink for at least two weeks.  There was this formula we had to use, a certain amount of bleach, boil that shit for a while and then let it cool off … just for a goddamn glass of water.

Yeah, it got old real quick.

But if you that’s where you live, that’s what you have to put up with.  I can’t just say, “I’m sick of boiling water!  I’m just going to drink this shit.”  And wind up with … I don’t even know what you get from drinking bad water.  Scurvy.  Herpes.  I don’t know.

People in Galveston were told to get the fuck out but they were like, “Well, you said Gustav was going to bad and that wasn’t all that bad, so Ike isn’t going to be that bad either.”  I’m here to tell you that every storm is not the same.  There are so many factors that you have to take into account, not just the forecast strength.  I told someone it all depends on how that shit comes ashore, where you are in location to the eye-wall.  Is it going to be hide tide at landfall?  How far above sea level does your house sit?  What kind of seawall do you have protecting your area?  Has it been pouring down raining before the hurricane even comes?  How big is the storm?  Not just how strong it is.  Some storms are wind-producers.  Some are rain-makers.  Some spawn a lot of tornadoes.  And a lot of that shit is unpredictable up until the point the storm is about to come ashore.  I think the forecasters did the best they could because Ike seemed very unpredictable, spinning around in circles, moving slowly, then quickly.  It was like you didn’t know what the fuck the thing was going to do until it was too late.

The officials in Texas said, “You are staring down the barrel of a gun.”  When someone says that to you, they aren’t bullshitting.  I think after Katrina, authorities are finally not afraid to use hard language.  It’s about fucking time, because you need to stop prancing around the issues sometimes.  “Uhm, I think it’s bad, but not really sure, or whatever, so uhm, yeah.”  That is not telling me should I stay or should I go.  Tell me the real facts so I can make a decision about my life.  So this time they said, “Yeah, get the hell out of here,” and what did these bastards do?  “No, I’m staying.”

And then at the last minute when they realised that Ike was going to come ashore at Galveston at the worst possible place in a hurricane:  the right front quadrant which produces by far the strongest winds, the heaviest rainfall and the greatest storm surge.  Galveston’s wack ass seawall was only 17 feet.  Luckily, the storm surge was 15 feet but what if it was the 20-25 feet that they had originally predicted?  Then the sea wall only extends 10 miles.  What about the rest of the damn city?  Geniuses!

Now all these assholes are stuck sitting on top of their roofs with pet Fido and Baby Johnny begging for someone to come save them.  It’s a shame that they have to put rescue workers’ lives at risks because of their own foolishness.

When I become President of the Universe, I am going to impose that mandatory actually means mandatory when it comes to small children, the elderly and the sick and infirm.  If you are an able-bodied but foolhardy adult and you want to risk your life, that’s your problem, but do not expect a rescue.  And if we have to come save your sorry ass in the event of a catastrophe, if you survive you will get a big ass fine for ignoring a mandatory evacuation.  I guess people think lives are free, and that rescue workers are expendable and just waiting to endanger themselves for the sake of some asshole worried about his house.

That is why Jesus invented insurance and FEMA handouts (no matter how shitty they are) to replace all the material items you might have lost.  I know of no government assistance programme that will replace your life in the event of death.

It is devastating to lose everything you own.  It’s hard to pick up the pieces, but it’s worse to bury a loved one.  I’m reading all these stories of old people, pregnant women, small children who stayed behind because their families were staying.  What the fuck is wrong with people?  I just finished reading this story about a man and his family who stayed.  The water rose to the second story of their house, so they climbed up into the attic and then out of a window into a tree.  From there, they climbed out of the tree and into a boat, like a small boat.  They stayed in the boat until the boat ran aground, and after that they ran as fast as they could because the surge was coming and they were trying to get to higher ground.  It was the man, his wife, his mother, his pregnant daughter and a small child.  This doesn’t even make sense.  So you mean to tell me, that your house (which is now destroyed) is worth more than your elderly mother, your daughter, her unborn child, and the other child, to have them running away from certain death?  Whether you stayed or went your house was going, but your life was almost went with it.

I saw a photo of an elderly woman getting rescued.  This hoe is in her bathrobe, and this speaks volumes of the stupidity of people.  You stayed behind because you thought it wasn’t going to be shit.  So, you just went about your daily routine like nothing?  The water is slowly approaching your house, but you get dressed for bed?  Why are you not in some sturdy shoes and jeans or something?  Just in case nobody could come for you and you had to walk out of there or swim out of there.  Because a bathrobe is going to protect you from the elements.  Were you actually laying in bed up until the point the water came all the way to second floor of your house?  She wanted to stay and this hoe is not even prepared for the worst.  So stupid.

A lot of people said they stayed because they didn’t have any money, they didn’t have anywhere to go.  The time to ask for help is before an emergency.  “Hey, someone help us!  We don’t want to stay but we don’t have anywhere to go!”  All the shelters are free, but if you don’t have a car, no money for gas, that’s when you ask for help.  “Please, I’ve got small children, someone give us a couple dollars.”  I am amazingly tight-fisted and don’t like to share shit, but we wind up kicking out more money to assist people after a catastrophe because they didn’t have the sense to ask for help beforehand.  I’d rather give you a hundred bucks for gas, then have my taxes increased to constantly help out these assholes that live in flood-prone areas with no flood insurance.

I don’t have any sympathy for anybody who is trapped in their house.  Too bad America is not like Cuba.  Cuba made examples of people who refused to listen to mandatory evacuations.  Anybody who stayed behind in Cuba was on their own and no rescue missions were sent for anybody who got trapped.  There was very little loss of life in Cuba because, as you know, it is a Communist state, and they mean business.

America is the bailout country because people fail to take responsibility for anything.  Everywhere in America has the potential for disaster, but that is why you prepare.  Flood insurance for low-lying areas.  A plan in case you need to evacuate.  I can’t think why Gulf Coast Texans would assume that a hurricane is not ever going to come their way.  So you’ve been living there all your life and you never thought about where you might go when something bad happens?  You don’t have $100 put aside to pay for gas to get the hell out?  I know times are hard, but times are especially hard when you don’t have a fucking roof over your head or a place to go to stay warm and dry.

Since Maryland hardly experiences severe weather, the only plan I have just in case is if another 9/11 happens.  I know exactly where I’m going and how to get there in case I can’t drive.  I have a few pennies stashed away.  It’s not much but it’s better than having absolutely nothing.  I just believe in being prepared because I don’t know about everyone else, but I hate being miserable.  The meagre possessions I have in my crummy basement apartment are worthless to me.  All I want is my birth certificate and my external hard drive, and even that… I learned how to back my shit up on the internet so if I can’t get to it, see ya!

As yet, the death toll is only 4 in the United States.  A woman was crushed by a tree.  A genius was killed because he wanted to see the waves and walked to the end of a jetty and was swept over.  Authorities fear more could be dead but there is so much damage and water that officials cannot even get into the worst hit areas.  Who has any idea what they might find when they eventually get back there.

I’m not even going to say “sorry about your luck” because you know better.  Cry me a river, Texas.

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