Friday, May 20, 2011

Florida: Fun on the Run

An interesting supplement came this morning in our local newspaper. It is called the “Hurricane Preparation Guide.”

Unlike the junk stuff that populate the paper every day—as bad a way of using good trees as the three or four telephone books most homes receive each year--this HPG is stone stupid serious and could save a lowlander his life.

The HPG is not some lighter-than-air happy face publication with little cartoons and feel-good BS scattered throughout. Nope, this little magazine is a no-nonsense warning to we victims-in-waiting on how to get the hector out of here when the time comes. Mixed between images of escape routes and photos of toppled water towers are ads for car insurance, medical services and hurricane shutters.

Since experts predict an “active” season for the Caribbean this year, and since six or so of these expected monsters will have Florida in their sights, so they say, the above magazine seems really pretty many timely since next month officially gets the party started.

I have always thought when looking at a U.S. map that, sticking naked far down into the Atlantic as it does--as if daring some big something to cut it off--Florida always seemed to be tempting fate. Why couldn’t the state have just pulled itself back up into the mainland nice and safe like Georgia and South Carolina did? No, Florida, the “Flaunt It State” must throw itself way down there almost to Cuba, giving every hurricane that blows this way hundreds and hundreds of miles of potential landfall.

Although Michelle and I will scramble like the rest to save our buns when the canes come callin’, it really seems pretty pointless to me. In Florida, after all, where does one run to? It would take about eight hours for us to escape the state even in the best of times; with the roads clogged and the state in a panic? Forget it! All of the state is hardly more than a few feet above sea level and without a mole hill in sight, the best we could hope for would be to scale an empty palm tree or climb a radio tower. And so, if the storm surge don’t drown us, and if the wind don’t slap us flat, I suppose the agitated gators and pythons will get us and suppa’ down.

And yes, I do find it wondrous that here I be a Kansan, where “Home, Home on the Tornado” is my birth legacy, and I now find myself living in Florida, the Godzilla of all Hurricane States. Maybe a death wish? Perhaps suicide by weather?


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