As I write this, Typhoon Juan (a.k.a. Megi) is ravaging the Phillipines. Ok. Let’s be honest. Now is the time to make those calls about your computer, your cell phone, your airline service, etc., because they will all have to be routed to U.S. call centers for a few days. Aside from that silver lining for us, though, there’s nothing good about this storm for those folks in the Phillipines. In fact, for many, it will be apocalypse.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been through a typhoon or a hurricane. I came close, though. My family was on our once-in-a-lifetime vacation in Belize back in 2008. A perfect little caye near the barrier reef that everyone in snow-bound areas dreams about for five months out of the year. Of course, that was the first year in 27 that a tropical storm hit in May. . . . Yea. I know. I have the same luck with grocery store lines. Anyway . . .
Thunder woke me at 2 a.m. after four straight days of pouring rain. Three layers of lightning filled every corner of the sky, two inches of water seeped up through the grout between the tiles in the little beach house, and sustained 40 m.p.h. winds with stronger gusts blew boats up on the shore and coconuts down from the trees. For a land-locked girl like me, tropical fury had me wanting to run for the hills, or at least some land.
My mind raced through my memory of every structure I’d seen on the island, wondering where we would run if the sea came through our door. A vision flashed in my mind of about this book I read back in junior high called The Cay. In it, Phillip and Timothy tie themselves to a tree to survive a monsoon. . . . Yes! That’s it! . . . I started looking for lamps, thinking I could use the electrical cords and a tree to save us all. . . . But wait. . . . Didn’t one of those guys die in that book? Another coconut hit the side of the house, and that convinced me. Tying ourselves to trees outside was not the best idea. What can I say? People think strange things in strange circumstances.
from The Caye
That was the peak of the storm. Twenty-four hours later, we walked around dead angel fish and overturned boats on the debris-strewn beach. For some reason I don’t know, the tide dipped extremely low, as if so much water came out of the ocean that there wasn’t enough to replace it. Ferries began to run again, and people continued their lives as if nothing had happened. In the big scale of things, nothing did. Yep. That’s as close to a hurricane as I care to get.
Just to put Typhoon Juan/Megi into perspective, it had winds of 140 m.p.h. when it landed. It’s now tamed down to a mere 112 m.p.h. The little storm that had me thinking of tying my children to trees with electrical cords was only 40 m.p.h. That mere Belizean appetizer to Juan’s massive Phillipine main course killed nine people, affected 100,000 more, and caused $78 million in damage. In other words, regardless of how I feel about their call centers, my heart goes out to the Phillipines right now.
Have you ever lived through a tropical storm or hurricane (typhoon if in the western Pacific)? Did you have strange ideas while it was happening?
ASS of the APOCALYPSE: This week, I give the Ass Award equally to the person who wrote the words “pig” and “chump” in bacon on the walkway of a South Carolina mosque, as well as to the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for making a national incident out of it. To the person who wrote, “pig,” I say shame on you. You didn’t fight Islamic extremists with that petty act, you only created ill will where there was none before. And to CAIR I say shame on you, as well, for calling in the FBI over this. You wasted my tax dollars and made a national incident out of rude, childish behavior. You also created ill will where there was none before by expoiting this incident for your own agenda. If you Cared half as much about the “A” in your name as you do about the “I” in your name, the “R” would be less of an issue.
HERO of the APOCALYPSE: My mother-in-law and all of the fine ladies like her who bring civilization to our lives. She is from that class of women who endure, whether they are raising kids, going to the office, or suffering life’s apocalypses. They take care of the business of their day with grateful hearts, sans any fuss or drama. While they may have strong opinions, they would never deliberately create ill will among those with whom they disagree. I’ve often heard it said that civilization begins with women. My mother-in-law and her class of ladies are the backbone.
Who are your ass and hero this week?
All the best to all of you for a week of shelter from the storm.
Piper Bayard–The Pale Writer of the Apocalypse
“Don’t stall. Don’t commiserate. Pray boldly. . . . The battle is still in front of you.” — Holmes