Friday, September 23, 2005

Live from Houston: Friday Afternoon

The wind is starting to pick up, and heavier clouds are starting to roll in from the north – though the sun is still visible. The streets are quiet. I’m no longer hearing the sounds of band saws, hammers and electric screwdrivers. I think people have made most of their preparations. I added some more tape to windows and secured the inside shutters in the front of the house, which made it very dark there. I’ll do the back shutters tonight. But for now it’s nice to have some natural light. If we lose power, we’ll be in the dark for awhile.

A couple of hours ago we walked the dog around the neighbor. Besides all the people staying on our block, it seems like quite a few people didn’t leave. There were kids playing on a local playground. A couple of guys were playing tennis. A woman was tying down her driftwood sculpture. A couple of people were still putting up plywood. Other people were also out walking their dogs. For now, life goes on.

It is interesting being in the middle of a “news event.” You realize that news reports are only a one-dimensional sketch—just a collection of a few facts, quotes, nouns and verbs that provides a rough outline of the story.

You also realize how myopic politics (politics in the narrow sense) is sometimes. I’ve read a few political blogs (admittedly not in depth at the moment) and you already get the feeling they are circling the post-Rita analysis like vultures (I know a cliché but apt). The pundits, wonks, ideologues, and politicos probably can’t wait, if they are, to “analyze” and spin the performance of Bush, FEMA, Gov. Perry, Mayor White, and the dog catcher. Critiquing performance is important, if the goal is to improve ongoing and future performance. But too much of it is about scoring political points, and has little to do with the human lives involved. That’s my political rant for now. The storm is approaching, and maybe approaching faster than originally predicted.

If the wind doesn’t pick up much in the next couple of hours and the rain hasn’t started, we’ll probably walk the dog one more time and check in with the neighbors. Then fill the bathtub with water, secure the back shutters, settled in with a good book, and wait.

The curtains belly in the waking room.
Sails are round with holding, horned at top,
and net a blue bull in the wind: the day.
They drag the blunt hulls of my heels awake
and outrigged by myself through morning seas.
If I do land, let breakfast harbor me.

–Alan Dugan, Landfall

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