Here they come, lined up like school buses. But so far they haven’t really focused their little round eyes on the Southern states. So we’re down at the water’s edge, thumbing our nose at the waves and making our little jokes. Earl? Wuz you on TV? Fiona? Just a prissy Brit. Gaston? We love froglegs. Hermine? Baby, you mine! Stir up them waves so we can pretend we’re really surfing. Give us some real curl!
Sadly, except for Nawlins– us coastal Southerners live secure in the knowledge that a hurricane is never going to hit us, except when it does. And if it does? Woooo! Party! Pull in that kegger for the big blow, bro.
It’s pretty much the same year to year, because unless you’ve watched your roof achieve liftoff or helped pull ex people out of tree branches, you really don’t take it seriously. And nobody wants to see you burst into tears over the blessing at Thanksgiving. If you’re anywhere where there is a Thanksgiving after the storm, that is.
That’s why the folks who’ve been there, done that and live in harm’s way are down at the Home Depot and the Farm Fresh getting ready: “stock up, tape up, board up and bail out” was the mantra my Father taught. Better to wonder what fool neighbor or tourist you might have to rake out of your hedgerow next week than to be there next to them.
In my mind, a few things keep us from taking the Blowhard season seriously. One is overexposure in what used to be a public service called the media but is now just a sensationalizing engine for pretty much any crap anyone comes up with; and if there’s the threat of death and destruction involved?–hey it’s a jackpot payday.
They’re all over even potential disaster like, well, –white on rice. I can count up to nine the number of horrible storms I was going to die in that sort of fizzled. And while sitting on the Interstate for 16 hours trying to get as far inland as Valdosta is no damn fun at all, as an air breather it was a good alternative.
Blowhard season usually gets started sometime around May, when some anointee in Colorado pops up on Faux (that’s Southron for Fox) or CNN and tells us we’re all going to die in the worst storms we’ve seen except for on the SyFy Network. And by the time they’ve finished banging that drum –before the Blowhard season really cranks– we’ve all moved on. Because the other Blowhard season starts right after that. The real Blowhard season.
Yeah, there’s a lot of wind and noise and meaningless activity associated with both. But the parallel is the damage they can do if we, the people, get our forecast wrong.
Because this is truly the Blowhard season. Where mawkishly sincere folks on happy family movie sets tell us how much they have in common with us and they’re real people and not “insiders” and why don’t we just vote for them ’cause the lighting and the music and the creepy insincerity is making our thighs all warm and runny? And, oh look, they have a dog and that makes them trustworthy.
But in the background and on the tube other disingenuously named groups are telling us what evil bastards (ERA note: or bitches) they really are and they haven’t poured their own coffee in years and we should cut off their feet and drown them before they turn our city/state/country into a cesspit we wouldn’t like. Even worse than now.
The horror of this perfect storm is that we call it down upon ourselves. We reward the Blow and the immense disregard for the dignity, life and property of others. We take no time or trouble to know the facts. And in doing so over and over, we have created a privileged class that lives in a different country than the rest of us, though it thrives on our sweat and blood and tears.
Honestly, it has all the dark beauty of a Category 5. We’re in the eye right now, but soon the rest of it will hit and pray to God we have something left when it passes. Because a lot of those people trying to get elected think, but don’t say, that Katrina was urban renewal.
If we can just make it through November, the season will be over. Until next time.