“THERE ARE ALREADY LINES AT THE GAS STATION!” she yelled. “FILL UP YOUR CAR RIGHT NOW!!!!”
“It’s only a tropical storm,” I said.
“It’s not only a tropical storm!” she said sternly. “Bobby Jindal is going to declare a STATE OF EMERGENCY later today at a press conference!”
Then she told me to come over immediately and help board up the windows.
I was still in my pajamas.
She continued with the “hurricane plan,” which I was told I was a part of, so this information would apply to me too.
“…And if it comes in at a Cat 3, we’re leaving,” she said.
A Cat 3?
(My mother was now abbreviating things.)
I told her that my car was filled up halfway, and I thought
she people were overreacting about it.
After a minute, even she calmed down.
“Well, the ‘state of emergency’ is so they can open up federal funding…” she muttered.
I’ve never had to evacuate for a hurricane.
I wasn’t living in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and growing up we always stayed, waiting out each storm, frustrated that we had no power. (There are only so many rounds of poker you can play with your family using fake money.)
My parents live in a naturally high part of the city, so flooding isn’t an issue. But their power goes out FIRST, I remember that distinctly. (I also remember my mom bribing electrical workers with cans of Coca-Cola to get us back on the grid.)
It’s always a surprise how limited you are in food options when the power goes out.
You can’t use the microwave and you can only open the refrigerator for two seconds at a time, so you need to know exactly what you need and where it is located before you open the door.
My current apartment is no longer a basement, but the top floor, and the front door sits 25 feet up from the street. (If that floods, everyone else is dead.)
I haven’t waited out any major storms there yet, but it has rained a whole bunch lately and the power has never gone out.
The last time everyone freaked out about a storm, I had to cancel a flight to Washington, D.C. and it turned out to be nothing.
This storm isn’t even a hurricane yet. The only preparation I thought I needed to do was to make sure my roommate, who is leaving on vacation, was bringing her cat
3 to her parents’ house.
My plan was to buy a box of wine and a new book.
But, now I have to step it up.
My mother has already texted me before 9 a.m. to ask me if I am working today – yes – and she reminded me that I am coming over after work to board up all their windows.
“And you should put your car in an elevated garage!!” she said.
“AND YOU NEED TO CLEAN OUT YOUR REFRIGERATOR BECAUSE ALL THE FOOD IS GOING TO SPOIL!!! ARE YOU GOING TO BOARD UP YOUR WINDOWS???”
“No, mom, that’s the landlord’s job,” I said.
I told her that I would stay at their house if it got bad (even though my dad has gone on record to say that having multiple people around during a storm is “just more mouths to feed”).
I said I would evacuate with them to Baton Rouge if the storm comes in as a “Cat 3,” although I have no idea what I would bring with me, since my massage chair won’t fit in their van.
Of course, no one wants to be the one to say that a storm isn’t a big deal, and then have it be a big deal.
And the cone model absolutely puts Isaac hitting New Orleans directly. But they say it’s coming in as a Cat 1, and not super formed and they don’t know for certain if it’s going to form too terribly in its short time over the Gulf.
I know people who are already evacuating.
Some say they don’t want to live without electricity; another person at my office said he didn’t want to be in the city, “if shit gets crazy and people start looting like they did last time.”
Schools are closed today through Wednesday, which I always enjoyed as a kid, but as an adult, I think it adds an unnecessary panic to the city.
The grocery store was a mob yesterday. No one was in the 10 items or less line.
Speaking of panic, I’ll be in that number later today, as I stand on a ladder to fit boards over windows and make other preparations to my parents’ house that would rival the apocalypse.
For a storm that’s going to hit TOMORROW at midnight.
I really hope this city doesn't run out of boxed wine.