What is it that we love about post apocalyptic fiction? I know what it’s not: it’s not that we like the idea of living without power, water, and the internet. It can’t be because we like the threat of death or the dangers of our fellow man who is...like us...looking out for number one. And it surely isn’t that we like the long lines for gas, water, and canned goods because I can tell you, not a single person I’ve run into the last two weeks has been singing the praises of living off the grid.
I first heard that Irma was coming at the end of a church service when one of our pastors stood up to say, “By the way, in case you don’t watch the news (cause who does that anymore), there is a hurricane coming”. Somewhere between “Eh, ok.” and “Babe, this is gonna be a big one!” the mood in our little apartment changed. There were jokes, yes. Quite a few actually, Florida knows when to get in a good laugh, but there were also multiple jugs of water, checklists, and more cans of soup than any person in their right mind would want in their pantry. I mean, seriously, if it all went south and we weren’t rescued in three days, we probably wouldn’t have any need for food...or anything...ever again.
It was interesting, as a writer, to see the mood that slowly took over our little Orlando-adjacent city. I was honestly more scared of the Aldies parking lot than I was of that little white and red swirl heading our way on the map. There was a barely perceptible undercurrent of pure panic wherever people congregated in numbers. In private, it slipped loose a bit more.
“Are you evacuating?”
“Worse case scenario…”
“This one is actually scaring me a bit.”
Of course, not everyone was worried. When my bosses drove out of state on Friday afternoon, I was mostly happy for more time to work on my editing. By Sunday afternoon, when the sky started getting just a little dark and reports were coming up from the rest of the state, I was just trying to decide if I wanted to use my time to sleep or my power supply to write. I really could have cared less about the storm, which made me feel guilty because I knew some people didn't have that luxury.
I slept through the hurricane. I’m kinda sad about that, actually. Those impressive sounds of wind were just background to my dreams. It was the perfect blend for me. Perfectly quiet, perfectly dark (yeah, the power didn’t last long) and a storm outside. Ok, so not perfectly quiet.
I was not eager to climb out the door in the morning, but I when my husband asked if I wanted to go looking for a hot breakfast with him I jumped at the chance. Not because I expected anything to be open (I mean, seriously.) but because I wanted to go on an adventure.
We got sent back home by the cops. SORRY. Yeah. We were those people.
Irma was quite the mess maker. We got hit pretty bad here. Of course, when I say “bad” It’s not flooding or a lot of structural damage. It’s a mostly trees down, electrical lines dead and a lot of people without power or water.
That doesn’t mean we are out of the woods. There are people who have died from fumes from their generators, heat stroke, or electrical shock while cleaning. Prayers are still appreciated, but we are not in any real danger.
I grew up in a tropical country, so I’m actually quite comfortable in the heat. I actually like it better than the negative degrees my husband likes to turn the AC down to.
I just realized: I’m going to need a snuggie when the power comes back on. There is no way that AC is going to go about 50 for a couple days.
I would say: “And thus ends our adventure” but I can’t claim that yet. We’ve been without power for four days and it looks like it will be at least two or three more. The power company has taped off the tree that decided to bear hug our power lines, so at least they’ve seen it. No work being done there yet.
There are still traffic lights out all over, and a lot of cars on the road from people who just want to enjoy the AC for an hour or two. I plan on scrubbing down the whole house if we make it through the next few days. We have cats. Cats with no AC is...not fun.
But, despite a bit of misery, we are better off than many in this state and thankful for that. I am a bit freaked out by my husband’s attempts at getting cooled off, but good. By the way, if you don’t hear from me in the next week, just know that I died quickly when the car exploded after keeping the fan blowing all night.