Thursday, September 22, 2005

Live From Houston: Pre-Hurricane Party

I’m back from our Pre-Hurricane Party. Our neighbor’s sister is on vacation in England, so she went over and cleaned out her sister’s freezer, since she feared everything would go bad. Her husband grilled up some chicken and sausage. We brought over some tuna steak and a bottle of red wine. Other neighbors brought beer.

We were a diverse group. A Republican sculptor (if you believe the Bush/Cheney 04 bumper sticker on the back of his pick up truck) and his wife—they own several cats and currently have 2 stray dogs. A contractor originally form Easton, PA, wearing a Grateful Dead T-shirt and his wife – by the way they own a dog named Shelia. A sales manager from an international shipping company, who is pet-less and new to the block. And our hosts, a graphic designer and her musician husband who have 4 dogs and several cats. And my wife and myself—we have a dog and a cat.

We ate good and drank some – a nice break from 24-hour hurricane news and prep. Our host has a very nice music room lined with guitars, records, and CDs. We listened to some Wilco, Radiohead, Peter Gabriel, and the Police. And for those brief moments of melodic intensity it felt pretty good to be alive. Maybe being reminded of the fragileness of life makes life more real, more worth living.

The threats are real, but there is only so much you can do. And sitting around worrying doesn’t seem to help much. You have to live life, and isn’t this what community is for—safety in numbers, mutual help, shared experiences and friendship? Plus, I think, and I may regret this in 24-hours, it is better than this…

I would hate to be caught on the highway by the Hurricane. And this is still going on tonight even with the contra flow traffic patterns. The news is still showing, at 1:00 AM on Friday, bumper to bumper traffic – a stream of red tail lights going no where…

Every street-lamp that I pass
Beats like a fatalistic drum,
And through the spaces of the dark
Midnight shakes the memory
As a madman shakes a dead geranium.

--T.S. Elliot, Rhapsody on a Windy Night


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