|Relocating, Part 5|
After a long delay precipitated partly by Florence and Michael I would like to continue my own personal guide to relocating in the OBX and starting a new life here. If you plan to relocate here you will eventually face your first hurricane along with the fears, trepidation and Weather Channel binge watching it brings. After it is all over you will know whether your timbre and soul have been tested adequately and what kind of person came out the other side. Hopefully not a waterlogged one but I was thinking more on a dry and existential level. The best way to address what you can plan to go through are the same five steps with which you confront grief—-denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
When you hear the first half-arsed projections on a squall 2000 miles away in the Atlantic as a possible hurricane landfall here you first express denial—-especially when you see umpty-seven projection charts predicting landfall from Key West to Bangor, Maine. (How are these expert predictions when they literally are over the map?) The denial is even easier to buy into when politicians start predicting Armageddon and telling you to run for your life a week in advance. With as much trust emanating from politicians as we have now it is a little hard to rustle up any belief in their warnings.
Then we get anger. We shout at the TV to get their stories right. When Jim Cantore shows up like a buzzard on a battlefield we tell him to get off our island and go bother someone else. Then comes bargaining. People paint signs saying “Go Away Florence”. Hurricanes are not known to be able to read and if they could it wouldn’t be English, would it, when they usually are born off the coast of Africa or in the Caribbean. So maybe the signs should say “Go Away Mon”. Next is depression. You say, heck, it really is coming—-got to get my butt out of here. But there are no hotels east of Chicago with vacancies and the people wanting you to evacuate haven’t provided enough gas for people to get out. So you get to acceptance. You realize that the OBX have been here a few thousand years and houses can be rebuilt and insurance will update any waterlogged furniture you wanted rid of. And that people paying insurance in Kansas are, to their amazement, paying premiums to help FEMA keep beachfront properties going.
The biggest decision you will face is to stay or go when a possible landfall is coming. First, listen to all the old timers. They can cite you previous dates, water levels, wind velocity, what weather people are arseholes and who aren’t, and their preference for the European prediction model. Personally I wonder how the Europeans got so good at prediction because when you think of hurricanes and Europe they do not seem to go together. Who has ever heard of Hurricanes named Hans, Gustav, Pablo, Renee, Vladimir, or Luigi? When you see the old timers loading up the cars then run out of here faster than a NASCAR fan blundering into a ballet recital. And please, plan ahead for your animals. You should not have more dogs and cats than you have pet carriers and vice versa. If you do then you have way too many pets. And please gather them up ahead of time. There is nothing like trying to corral a bunch of cats and dogs in heavy winds and rain while people are running around yelling “We’re all gonna die!”. Do not leave them behind to care for themselves. Our Annie Jean, known here previously as the “white cat”, has privately warned me that if she is left behind and we come back a few days later that we better sleep with one eye open and shakeout our shoes each morning before putting them on
The final decision to leave or go is a gut decision and how you feel about life at that moment. It is like the prom coming up and you are trying to decide whether to go with the bad boy/girl or the boy/girl next door. Do you want to chance a possible adventure or be safe? Are you willing to take the bad route and wake up in the back seat of a a squad car with someone else’s clothes on? Or have a late night Denny’s breakfast and go home? Depends on what risks you want to take and what you want to brag about. Nobody wants to hear your stories about how you set in a Motel 6 in Booger, WV for a week after the evacuation. But you’ll hear stories about how old timers carried five chihuahuas in their sweater until flown out in a Coast Guard helicopter for years.