Saturday, August 28, 2021

Hurricanes and the U.S. Open

In 2005, we (I was married at the time) evacuated from the Northshore (my community is north of Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans) because of Hurricane Katrina. We went with our two cats to a historic hotel in central Louisiana. We had a really bad television, but I was able to watch the U.S. Open. Between that and blogging for my social/political issues blog and blogging for Mother Jones (whose staff interviewed me about hurricane evacuation), I kept busy. (I wrote song parodies about the horror of how the government was dealing--or not dealing--with Katrina, and a man in New England sang them in a coffeehouse.)

It was a scary time. The things that were going on in New Orleans were sickening (I won't go into them here), and they still make me feel sick, sixteeen years later. I typed so much that I developed an RSI. Somewhere on the Internet, I found a message from relatives in the U.K., asking if anyone knew our whereabouts. I was surprised to see my name on a list of "missing Louisiana poets."

Velma learns about Katrina

That was the year that the "Can Andy find his Mojo?" promotion was used. It was kind of funny--until he lost in the first round. Later, after Maria Sharapova had a really good win, an interviewer asked her how she did it, and she said "I found Andy's mojo."

It was a while before we could go home, and when we got there, our front gutters were crushed,  there was a tree on our roof,  and a giant oak had fallen, leaving what looked like a moon crater in the back yard. In other words, we were lucky.

I really wanted to watch the U.S. Open final, but of course, we had no power. There was a chain restaurant near my house with both power and televisions, and the manager kindly offered to let me watch the Open from there. But he was unable to get the channel on which the event was showing, so I had to go home and look at the scores on my phone app. 

Tarzan gets into Birmingham hotel life

In 2012, we evacuated during Hurricane Isaac. This time, we took four cats with us to Birmingham, Alabama, and stayed in a hotel with considerably more space than we had in 2005. We also had a better hotel, and again, I watched the U.S. Open (on a much better television). That turned out to be a false alarm for us; we returned to an intact house and yard. But the trip back took such a long time (you can imagine) that again, I missed the U.S. Open final.

And here we go again. Tomorrow evening, the power will go out. How long it stays out depends on how many trees go down, and there are a lot of trees in my community. Fortunately, we have a hard-working, very efficient power company. Also, through some fluke, my house is on the hospital grid, so I get my power back before my neighbors do. But I'll miss the early part of the U.S. Open, an event that I've come to associate with hurricanes.

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