Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Katrina and the 50-foot waves

If you're into schadenfreude like me, one of the pleasures of living on the West Coast is the casual attention you can pay to stories about hurricane season on the East Coast. Is it funny? Not at all. But I've lived most of my life in the South, and have endured more than my share of hurricanes and resulting property damage. It's very relaxing to not have your life interrupted by weather reports.

And now comes Katrina. Tropical Storm Katrina is bullying the Florida coastline and could touch land some day soon. And I've begun taking a slight interest, as my parents are visiting family on the East Coast this week. They're probably out of harm's way in Delaware, but it's a small reminder of how a natural phenomenon can wreak havoc on the nation's lower latitudes and only cause a minor inconvenience to those who live up north.

I'm convinced there's something karmic there, but I have no idea what the Caribbean islands and the American South did in the past to repeatedly take the hit on behalf of the Western hemisphere.


K-Lyn said...

Schadenfreude? Do you get's vacab word of the day emails? This was one earlier in the week and I've been trying to use it ever since. And here you beat me to it! *whine*

Neel Mehta said...

I get the news feed. And don't fret. There's always a good time to use that word. Listen to Morrissey to get in the mood.

The Attractive Nuisance said...

Or the Avenue Q soundtrack.

Dude, my hometown got hit *twice* with hurricanes last year. They suck.

Courtney said...

"I have no idea what the Caribbean islands and the American South did in the past to repeatedly take the hit on behalf of the Western hemisphere."

Well, slavery pops to mind. Of course, that theory falls to crap when you consider Haiti's poor suffering.

Neel Mehta said...

Slavery may be the greatest sin of imperialism, but it's not the only one. Ejectment of natives, internment of foreign-born nationals, and dictatorial sacrifice of countrymen come to mind.

It's just not clear to me how the proper functioning of a planet allows perpetual turmoil in one region and static paradise in another.

Welcome to me talking about the weather.

bdure said...

You've probably seen the (since-discounted, I believe by Snopes) map showing Florida county voting patterns in 2000 and the paths of each hurricane since then.

Of course, as a native Southerner and one-time resident of Wilmington, NC, I have to point out the following:

- Every time I hear the folks on the Metro remind us to spy on our neighbors in case they happen to have bombs in their backpacks, I get a little nostalgic for the days in which all I had to fear was the occasional destructive blast from Mother Nature.

- Hurricanes actually do tend to work their way northward and cause a fair amount of damage. Hence my intimate knowledge of sump pumps.

- Ahem ... SNOW!



- Slavery was a northern thing, too. They just got the message a little sooner. News travels more slowly in rural areas, you know. Besides, we speak a bit slower.

- Where's the retribution for George Steinbrenner? Donald Trump? Reality TV shows?

So in the grand scheme of things, I see hurricanes as just one of God's tools for dosing out humility. Many are needed.

Courtney said...

I am reminded of discussions with my west-coast folk about how Easterners don't understand -- or at least don't have in their mindset -- the "Big One". Meaning, of course, the earthquake that will break off everything west of Interstate 5 and cause it to sink into the ocean.

I guess each region has its own brand of destruction. All in all, I think I still prefer earthquakes to my year in Boston (snowstorms) or my many years on the Gulf Coast (Tropical Storm Allison, damn her!)

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Julie said...

My mum's friend moved out of the Midwest because she feared hurricanes than ended up getting her house destroyed in an earthquake in California.

And as I type this I'm keeping a close eye on a mountain that may or may not errupt in my lifetime - and I am also two blocks away from where most of the WTO shit went down. If it ain't mother nature, it's human nature. One of them will getcha in the end.

Julie said...

Check that, I mean to say "tornadoes" not hurricanes!