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Watching and Waiting


It’s a strange feeling, waiting for a hurricane that may or may not come.

Time is lived in between the track/intensity updates at 4 a.m., 10 a.m., 4 p.m., and 10 p.m., time in which your plans keep shifting and your anxiety ebbs and flows.

I check the forecast on three different websites, watch the Weather Channel, toggle back and forth between local and national news sites. I obsessively refresh and read Bob Breck’s blog because even though I don’t agree with his stance on climate change and am still sort of appalled that he compared the Saints “no call” fiasco with being raped, he is the only one I even halfway trust. I light my Nash Roberts prayer candle. I try not to eat all my hurricane snacks and drink all my hurricane wine too early.

Often we leave for storms, even small storms. We evacuated for Category 1 Isaac in 2012 because we had a 3-month-old baby, and we evacuated for Tropical Storm Barry last year because I was irrationally terrified that it was going to cause the Mississippi to overtop the levees. It’s not too bad leaving normally because my in-laws have a home in Amite with a generator, and failing that, my husband went to college in Memphis and I went to college just outside of St. Louis, so we have friends willing to put us up all along Interstate 55. I have fond memories of drinking terrible coffee and chewing my nails while watching hurricane coverage on a wall-mounted TV in a hole-in-the-wall diner with Missouri friends.

This time, though, what with the pandemic and all, we’re staying. I would rather deal with even a strong Category 2 than whatever germs are lurking in gas station bathrooms. We’re freezing big jugs of water and charging all of our devices; we lowered our patio umbrella and secured our trash and recycling bins; my husband helped my dad board up his big picture window.

But without the normal hustle and bustle of evacuation, these tasks don’t use up even a fraction of my nervous energy.

Is the storm shifting? Is it strengthening? What does Bob Breck say? Is it time to open the Cheez-Its?

Whether you’re staying or going, please stay safe from storms and from COVID-19.

P.S. The one good thing about Hurricane Sally is that it’s completely distracted me from my impending 40th birthday (tomorrow).




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