Lessons from Gonzalo

Image credit: blogspot.com
Image credit: blogspot.com

Hurricane Luis in 1995 was the first hurricane that made us sit up and take notice. Most of us couldn’t tell the last time that we had seen a major storm in the region and quite a lot of us (fools that we were), were excited for this new experience.

But as Bugs Bunny so eloquently puts it after he teaches some unsuspecting soul a lesson – “That’ll learn ’em”.

Because after two days – which was how long the storm lasted – we weren’t ever that eager to see one again. However, having experienced a hurricane with wind speeds of 120 mph, a storm with much less strength (which was what Gonzalo was forecast to be), wasn’t getting any of us too excited.

The tropical storm – which I heard our meteorologists are now asking the National Hurricane Center to re-classify – wasn’t close to the status of Luis and its aftermath not nearly as devastating, but with the passage of time there are things that you tend to forget. In the days after he left, Gonzalo taught me some things and reminded me about others.

One. That there is no “power of one”, when you’re the only one without power.

During Hurricane Luis, most everybody was in the same boat – none of us had electricity – or at least there were enough of us without generators so that there was a kinship and we were all miserable together. But this time, when I was the only one still disconnected after everybody else had been restored I feared that my lone voice was exactly what would keep me in the wilderness.

This is what they mean when they say "dog better than me".
This is what they mean when they say “dog better than you”.

Two. That I really can bathe in half a bucket of water…

…Or two cupfuls for that matter. It reminded me that we had been doing bucket challenges long before ALS supporters came up with the idea this year. And even though I managed to bathe in less water than I drink in a day – unlike their cold water test – I insisted on heating mine up just right, before I trickled it over the most important parts of my body.

Three. That over preparation is better than wondering what bulletin I missed.

Before the passage of the last major hurricane, we were adequately prepared. We knew what it meant when we were advised to “rush to completion all preparations to secure life and property”. So it might mean boarding up my windows to protect against a puff of wind and 2 inches of rain, but that’s what I’ll be doing next time because I’m noticing that these  storms are becoming increasingly cantankerous and they don’t want to be pinned down.

The dog doesn't know what happened either
The dog doesn’t know what happened either

Four. That ice is the best thing to be invented since sliced cheese.

Something I didn’t realize until I couldn’t keep it frozen. The days after Hurricane Luis were notorious for lines that formed at the gas stations – not for gas, but for ice. Gonzalo’s after effects didn’t call for any lines, but since I don’t see the point of drinking a beverage unless it’s cold, I declare that lukewarm drinks are the second worst thing to contend with in the aftermath of a storm.

Five. That board games are a good way to kill time.

The hours between getting home and going to sleep are either spent waiting for sleep to come, or for catching up on my Ouija board skills. Since the house is already in darkness I’ll just add some candles to complete the séance-like feeling and have a conversation with grandma.

Six. That I can live without the comforts of home for about a week – after which I’m going to somebody else’s.

That one speaks for itself.


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