Saturday, August 27, 2011

The upside of hurricanes

So unless you live several feet beneath the earth under a teetering pile of heavy rocks (to which I say, I'm sorry and you better GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE!) or haven't encountered any form of media or other human beings in the past 48 hours, here is your delayed newsflash (although if you're reading this blog over checking the news or looking outside your window, you need to reset your priorities): there was a hurricane this weekend. You're welcome.

Not only was there a hurricane, but it was apparently supposed to bring the apocalypse along with it. Fun!!! Or at least that's what you'd think from all the coverage this Irene character had been getting. I'll be settling down with a good book to read by candlelight once this hullabaloo has passed.. IF I LIVE.

My parents were supposed to get on a flight to Korea last night, but it got delayed until Wednesday. My dad's taking his sabbatical for 10 months over there, doing research with companies, teaching at the university, and generally embracing his full-fledged nerdiness. My mom is going for a couple of weeks to help him move in and make sure his apartment is stocked with more than just ramen packets and peanut butter (left to his own defenses, my dad would have the eating standards of a college frat boy).

So rather than spend the weekend getting ready to leave and wrapping up last-minute errands, my mom closed her store early due to the 'inclement weather' and came home while my dad had a teleconference with his colleagues to tell them about his updated travel plans. This resulted in all five members of my family (including my sister, who came to visit) being in the house together on a Saturday with virtually no plans of leaving it for the first time in a while. Our power was still on but we were anticipating losing it as we listlessly roamed around the house, looking out the window every five minutes to gauge the level of our impending doom. The only foray I made outside was with my sister to get ice cream from the nearby Baskin Robbins -- a must-have commodity during any natural disaster, really.

After we got back, all of us sat down in the kitchen while my grandma placed a steaming hot bowl of spicy broth in the middle. We slowly devoured it, intermittently chatting about the storm-hype, our relatives' health, and (nerd alert!) the efficiency of LED light bulbs. We dug into one of the two quarts of ice cream purchased and let ourselves happily languish around the table. No time-checks, no gotta-go's. We eventually migrated to the living room, where we watched the ongoing news reports of storm preparation and heard the raindrops begin to patter on the roof.

We lost power the next morning and the walls of our house gradually went from a chipper white to ashy gray, then became blanketed in black. As soon as we realized that our lights weren't turning on, my sister and I stared wide-eyed at each other and yelped, "THE ICE CREAM!!!" Racing downstairs, we rapidly distributed bowls to everyone and demanded that they keep scooping before the jamoca almond fudge devolved into a puddle of brownish goop (and THAT'S the proper word usage, Gwyneth). We managed to go pick up a large pizza pie amidst the road detours and brought it back home to have our second meal together this weekend.

I stepped out to go study at a friend's, my last familiar bastion of electricity left in town. Six hours later, I drove home through deserted streets devoid of working street lamps or traffic lights -- the scene, by all means, looked like the eve of a zombie outbreak. Driving past those dark houses was eerie but kind of nice, knowing that the families inside were hunkering down, getting ready to do nothing but sleep. Solidarity, I say! I got home, joined my own, and waited for the storm to pass. Just like everyone else.

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