My mom was supposed to come visit me this weekend for Labor Day. She’s been wanting to come out for a while but between her schedule and my schedule there hasn’t really been a very good time. I’m going to see her in Michigan in November when we go to visit my grandmother and we philosophically decided that was going to have to be good enough. At the last minute a couple of weeks ago she just said, hey, I’m coming the first week in September, does that work for you? It sure did.
Tuesday I knew about the hurricane that was coming…three weeks after the last one, thank you very much, and I was worried that it would be weird for her to be out here when all this crazy stuff was happening at home. We didn’t know how big the storm was…because that’s the joy of hurricane season, you know: you know it’s coming about a week in advance and every day you get conflicting information and you don’t know if you’re going to have to evacuate or if school’s going to be closed or where it’s going to hit or how big it’s going to be. Anyway, at the time we weren’t sure how big the storm was going to be, so she said she was still going to try to come out to the West Coast anyway. “I may as well be with you when it comes, right?” she said.
We know now how big: really big. It’s supposed to hit somewhere on the East Coast of Florida. Real great, very specific. It’s a huge storm and it could hit anywhere and the upshot it Mom sent me email this morning saying that she’s flying to Tampa this evening to be with my sister. “It could totally pass Miami again and flatten Tampa but at least we’ll be together,” she said. She’s got the cats taken care of and the hurricane shutters up and the computers in plastic bags and the furniture pushed against the closets and the antique lamps wrapped away safe and the trees were trimmed recently so if it hits hard maybe they won’t fall over and smash the house to bits. I just spoke with her and she says she feels better having made the decision to be with my sister. She had a little nervous edge in her voice.
It’s the not knowing, the feeling far away, the feeling of absolute powerlessness. I am so far away and there’s nothing I can do and if I were there in Florida there would still be nothing I could do, there’s nothing anyone can do. That’s what’s driving me crazy. Nothing anyone can do. I think there’s some sort of abstract intellectualization to be made here, something about the futility of thinking we can control our own lives, the illusion of believing we have impact on events. This kind of event, at least, where no amount of preparation or planning or good intention or past experience has any bearing on the outcome. I’m too scared and nervous, though, to make such conjectures.
Regardless, I’ll ask for your good wishes for my family and for the rest of Florida, in this horrible twenty-four hours before whatever happens happens.