Column: Isaac was a bonding experience
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 14:09
I’ve never evacuated for a hurricane before. I grew up 45 minutes away from the coast in Houston, Texas, and my dad believed in those 45 minutes; combined with probability, major storms weren’t likely to cause damage. My mom, who grew up in the Philippines, assured me that these hurricanes were nothing—a little wind and rain? She’d show me a real storm.
The tropical storms and hurricanes came and went, and we always hunkered down. My dad became popular around the neighborhood for repairing fences and roofs at a discount after the storms. My sister and I picked up some useful storm facts and decided that when we grew up, we’d live in houses on top of hills and both own Humvees.
We also learned that every storm was different. Allison flooded everything. Rita knocked some fences down. Ike left us living in a two-room apartment with 13 of our relatives because my grandmother was the only person who had both power and water. So when Isaac was suddenly coming right to New Orleans, I called my mom and asked her if maybe I should leave. Her response: what about school?
What about school? I knew about storms at home, but New Orleans was right on the water. I had never experienced a storm here first hand, but surely the people of New Orleans knew more about storms than I did. I admit that even though I’ve lived here for almost two years, I still conceptualize New Orleans as a mystic land filled with hardy people who brave the storms and canoe to class. Like a boss.
In hindsight, that made no sense, but I told my mom that no one around here seemed worried. I’d stay in Carrollton.
So began my hurrication, and even though we didn’t have class, I found the experience very educational. I learned, for example, that smokers had the potential to become a large and terrible force without their cigarettes. I realized that the assumption that humans were clean and nice-smelling animals was really only an illusion enabled by air-conditioning. I learned that my suitemate, whom I’ve known for almost seven years, is actually a very talented leg-farter. I experienced levels of bonding that can only take place when a bunch of stinky, sweaty college students are locked in a building and not allowed to smoke or drink.
When the skies cleared, my room was undamaged and people were unharmed. I was lucky, as I’ve continuously been with every storm I’ve experienced. Still, those situations come down to chance and choice. I think a day may come when I’m not comfortable with that uncertainty, but for now, I’m proud to live on the Gulf Coast.
Kylee McIntyre is an English writing senior and can be reached at email@example.com