I watch my neighbors with equal parts amusement and jealousy as they put up everything from plywood sheets to metal storm shutters. Harsh times are nearly howling at our doorsteps.
My own home is protected by nothing more than standard construction materials and a really positive attitude. What do you expect from a guy without health insurance…I gamble constantly with the powers of misfortune.
The fully real prospect of facing a mighty storm like Matthew hearkens me back to my youth, where hurricane glass and accordion shutters were yet proliferate and preparations leaned to the bizarre.
For example, the most common “protection” in the face of an oncoming storm was to put masking tape on every window. Sometimes you would make an “X” or, if you really went wild, you would make an asterisk.
Of course, that wouldn’t stop 130 mph winds (or a coconut flying at that speed), but the theory went that if the glass shattered, the tape would prevent hundreds of tiny shards from spraying through the home.
Later in life, I wondered at that principle. Is a bunch of smaller pieces of glass better to be suffered than one extremely large piece? This thought crystallized (unintended) for me after I saw the movie “The Omen”.
Removing patio furniture and other potential deadly objects was always part of the preparations. Alas, now, without a garage, my home looks like a flea market.
Times have changed and the combination of many years between hurricanes and a transplanted population has created a lax attitude about storms and preparations. I am often embarrassed by national news stories picturing the panicky “locals” flooding store and gas stations the day before the storm.
For crying out loud, hurricane season begins in June! How tough is it to stock up on some water and dry goods? We all have pantries. We all have Costco’s (or Wal-Marts, for single guys like me).
And what’s with all these people leaving stuff on their patios? A hurricane is a big spinning storm. Just because it’s in the east and your patio faces west doesn’t mean you don’t have to do anything. The winds come from one direction as it arrives and the other as it leaves. Get those killer missiles off you patio!
Of course, standard preparations include lots of towels. No mater how good your home, even with awesome shutters, rain will start driving horizontally in those winds. That means doorways can see water spitting through.
And people like me, without protection, we’ve got to watch those sliding glass doors, long the secret access for water invasion.
Last time, with Wilma, I got to sit on my east-facing patio and watch the roof tiles being blasted off my neighbors homes (since that storm came in from the west). Of course, as it passed and the winds turned, I booked back indoors.
Wilma was a direct hit, actually crossing the peninsula. At this time, Matthew still looks like he’ll keep to the waters. But he’ll be close. Real close. Close enough that the weather prediction is for hours of sustained 50-60 plus mph winds.
And though it may get blown back in my face, it’s not entirely unlikely I’ll stick my head out just so I can register my physical displeasure for Matthew’s visit.