Sunday, August 28, 2011

In the Aftermath of Hurricane Irene

As if we haven't all already heard enough about Hurricane Irene in the past few days...

I survived Hurricane Irene, if that wasn't already obvious (this is not zombie Mel or an imposter--who would go to the trouble?).  At about 8:00 yesterday morning I woke up to high winds and rain lashing at my window. Shortly thereafter, the power went out.  I was expecting this to happen, yet I spent a bit of time hum-hawing as to what precisely to do. Should I get into my bathtub (the one slightly safe place in my apartment) or hold off unless things got worse? How would I know if things got worse? How bad were present conditions? With no TV or internet (I didn't think to get a battery-powered radio) I had a difficult time finding out what exactly was happening in the world around me. Looking out my window, I could tell things were pretty bad (high winds and rain whipping almost horizontally through the trees) but was it bad enough to go into hiding?  The power began to flash in and out periodically until about 10:00 AM, and I learned from the Weather Channel that Irene had hit Nag's Head at about 7:30 AM, the state was going to get a shit-ton of rain, an this thing was not going away anytime soon. I spent some time in the bathroom (I still wasn't up to actually crouching in the tub yet) reading Bleak House by Dickens with a flashlight and a lit candle (couldn't decide on that either). Yet after a while doing that, I said "meh, whatever, the windows aren't going to shatter anytime soon" and went back to bed. At about noon I decided that even a tropical storm/hurricane wasn't a good enough reason to sleep in that late, and got up. After reporting my power outage to the utilities company, I began my day.

It quickly became clear to me that I would not do well in Olden Tymes where there was no electricity, running water, TV, or internet.  Unlike some of my friends, I didn't find it extremely entertaining to watch the goings-on outside as a way to pass the time, perhaps because nothing really happened around me.  With that said, I DID look out the windows constantly to check the intensity of the storm.  Fortunately for me, however, I am a big reader, and read Dickens by flashlight.  Yet I can't read Dickens all day (who can?) and so I searched for another way to pass my time. Sudoku, a trashy romance novel I only read periodically, an anthropology journal (only for a few minutes, sooo boring), solitaire with real cards as I listened to Sarah McLaughlin, listening to the radio (forgot that my ipod has an FM radio tuner, ha), and...was out of ideas after that. I was NOT about to work on my thesis. Screw that.

I tried journaling, but all I could get myself to write about was the storm, the power outage, and my resulting boredom.  The point of relaying all of this, I guess, is to say that I finally began to learn the art of Doing Nothing.  Being so constantly bombarded with media in the form of TV, radio, Internet, etc, I was at a loss when it was all (or mostly) gone. I had my cell phone which could access Facebook and Twitter, but I was trying to keep my phone turned off to conserve the battery, which meant I only turned it on to 1) bug the utility company (once), 2) update my Facebook status so friends and family knew I was okay, an 3) check to see if anyone had tried to contact me. A few friends texted to see how I was doing, which I really appreciate. Anyhoo, this art of Doing Nothing was a challenge for me. The silence became suffering, and even with music I couldn't find anything else I wanted to do after I exhausted all the aforementioned activities. Thus, I found myself staring out into space, at the wall, at my couch, etc.  It got me wondering, especially after reading Dickens, about life in "Olden Tymes" and how spoiled I am in comparison. I don't know how to live (well) without electricity, running water, TV, computers, etc. I can barely cook with a stove, oven, and microwave, God forbid I have to do it in the 19th century.

The power finally came back on at about 7:00 that evening, as I was watching Monty Python on my computer (I finally broke out the DVDs even though I was trying to conserve my computer battery).  I breathed a huge sigh of relief, and celebrated by watched TV and Netflix for the next three hours while surfing the internet.  Today has been beautiful, and I've ventured outside and taken some pictures of my apartment complex and campus to show friends and family the extent of the damage.  I haven't seen too much flooding, but a lot of trees fell, and classes at ECU have been cancelled tomorrow.

The above picture is of the front yard of my complex from my front door.

As you can see, my car survived :-)

Some of the tree carnage I encountered on campus. About half the courtyard was taped off.

The bridge at the bottom of College Hill Drive. It was blocked off (obviously) due to high water and broken branches all over it.

Well, that's all for now. I hope everyone who was in the path of the hurricane is doing well!

1 comment:

  1. Love it!

    And you weren't the only one that was really bored. Sad thing is, is I was bored before the power even went off. I got tired of the internet, got tired of reading, got tired of doing just about everything other than staring out the window watching it rain. The whole thing was rather fascinating to me... watching it come in waves, the wind changing, intensity changes throughout time, etc. It was like a giant TV stuck on MotherNature channel.

    I suppose I should blog about Irene, too. :)