Saturday, August 14, 2004

Charley came a knocking, but he didn't come in.

It's morning in Jacksonville, and everything is pretty calm. Mrs. Mosley and I slept through what was supposed to be the worst of the hurricane (between midnight and 2am) and we didn't hear a peep, not even from our easily frightened cats. We turned on the news when we got up and heard all about the damage in Fort Myers and how Charley is now heading for the Carolinas. We've survived another one.

You know, if I were the type that became easily jaded, then I'd be getting frustrated by now. I'm sure there are others in town that already are. Within my lifetime of thirty years, Jax has been threatened by some major storms, but they always go around us. People rush out to Home Depot in droves and buy plywood by the pickup truck load and as much bottled water that can fit in their SUV's and brace for impact, only for the impact never to occur.

The last really big storm that almost hit Jax was Floyd back in 1999. At the time, I was renting a house with two friends from college, WW and KC. When the warnings came, we sprung into action. WW actually went out to buy a portable generator, which was not all that portable when we loaded it into the car. We also bought plywood, which is the true indicator of whether or not your serious about storm preparation. We boarded up all the windows and brought inside all yard items that could become projectiles. All three of the places where we worked had shut down for the day the storm was to hit, so it was a matter of sealing ourselves up inside and waiting.

The power never went out, yet we kept most of the lights out for...spooky ambiance? Who knows. All three of us stayed at our respective computers for most of the day. The skies remained dark and ominous, but no strong winds or horrendous rain ever came. And the next day, it was back to normal with the addition of taking a crowbar to the plywood.

Jacksonville is like that. Geographically, we are in the armpit of the eastern coastline (Check out a map if you think I'm exaggerating). Although this oddity may or may not be the reason for it, most of the hurricanes that pop up sling around and slam into the Carolinas, whose residents must really like living there if they like putting up with this crap year after year.

Talking like this may just be tempting fate. Hurricane season is far from over and tropical storm Danielle is warming up in the Gulf. It may be a good idea to leave that lawn furniture in the shed, after all. Better safe than sorry.

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