Hurricane Irene came and went with a whimper last year and left us with jugs of water that lasted three months. I wrote on this blog about the lights staying on in Times Square. Now, as Tropical Storm Issac approaches the Gulf, I’m thinking back to last year when the hurricane threw a fork in the first week of the semester at my library, throwing everyone into a tizzy that did not dissipate until December. I hope that this semester I can be better prepared for everything, but signs do not point to “yes.” In any event, I dug up this poem I wrote last year, before the hurricane:
Preparing for a Hurricane
I once learned that Walmart tracked statistics
on the things people bought before a hurricane.
The most common purchases were not water,
toilet paper, bullets, but rather beer and pop-tarts.
It’s 9:30pm and Stop n’ Shop is not too busy
but there is a special on bottled water
and a shortage of D batteries from here to New Jersey.
It reminds me of snowfall in Virginia:
the panic, the wonderbread flying off the shelves.
I am armed with a print-out from the Red Cross
distributed by my local surrogate Jewish mother:
Flashlights, nonperishable food,
three gallons water per person, per day.
Find your local hurricane shelter,
buy a ham radio. Have an emergency blanket.
Make copies of your passports. Get extra cash.
Board up your windows with plywood.
Have extra pet supplies (leash, kibble, kitty litter).
Fill your tank with gas. Don’t use candles for light.
Don’t open your refrigerator in a black-out.
Charge everything the night before.
So we check off the list haphazardly. No pop-tarts
for us but macaroni and cheese. My husband
absconds with a watermelon, half-hoping New York
will be the center of a hurricane and we will
sit back and watch spitting our seeds on
the Chrysler building.
I left the Midwest for this? Where are my blizzards
and tornadoes? Where is the lake that flooded dry?
I plug in everything, phones, laptops, ipods,
knowing that loneliness is the one predictable
casualty of every storm.