So I move to California and begin getting nervous every time I have to stop under a bridge while driving around LA. What if there’s an earthquake? I don’t want to be under a bridge in an earthquake! As an east-coaster suddenly faced with news about fault lines and earthquake awareness, I started living in constant fear that the earth would start to shake under me and horrible things would happen. But I’ve been on earthquake watch for a year and a half now with absolutely nothing to legitimately worry about, and the ENTIRE east coast gets shaken up this week by a 5.9.
Let me just add here that however this confuses/annoys me (as well as adds to my constant fear), I am very glad everyone is alright and that there was relatively small amounts of damage. But really? I live in an earthquake mecca and my east coast friends all now know how it feels?
And now there is this Irene. I probably shouldn’t say anything until the storm has passed and I know that everyone and every thing is fine, but I’m taken back to this time of year in 2004. The beginning of my junior year at Rollins, when four hurricanes rolled through Central Florida over the course of two months. Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne delayed the start of school, closed down campus a few times, and caused dorms to be evacuated.
We also had some killer Hurricane Parties.
We prepared for the storm the best way any college kids could. We stocked up on beer and liquor. Frat boys handed out flyers with addresses of off campus houses where the beer pong and flip cup would be going until the power went out and the beer got warm. And even then, we would drink warm beer. In the dark.
Six girls from my sorority stayed in a landlord’s apartment and we raised our own hurricane hell. We watched Disney movies (that was all she had) and made our own video documentary of the storm complete with interviews and live news coverage. I think the highlight of the amateur video was someone dropping a Police Maglight Flashlight on my little toe during a sing-a-long of some kind just before the power went out. We replayed that footage about a million times. My face was priceless. And I think my toe was broken.
See, in Florida we never had snow days. We never had that random day off because Mother Nature dumped 5 feet off snow on us overnight. We never had icy conditions or slush or sleet. We never had a weather related excuse for classes to be canceled. We had Hurricane Season and we made it count.
Fall semester of 2004 was one of my favorite times in college. A few unplanned days off together to hunker down and let Mother Nature do her thing was the best way to spend some real quality time with your friends. And nothing brings you closer than losing power (and therefore air conditioning) in August in Orlando, FL. And thankfully, everything always turned out ok. Mostly because there was always at least one gas station open on Colonial when we ran out of beer. (We ran out of food even faster, but we were never as concerned about eating a balanced meal as we were about risking curfew for another case of Bud Light)
Be safe, East Coast. I hope you are all plenty stocked up on booze, bread, and toilet paper. We are thinking about you out here in LA and sending all of our blue-sky love your way!!