Tuesday, July 12, 2005

on hurricane thinking...

the beach bum

Background: I grew up in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, & Ma beach bum still lives there. Bro beach bum is in the process of trying to find employment such that he moves back there.

With that said, I have heard some strange things in the past few days related to hurricanes:

--"I'd give anything to fly in a hurricane hunter through a storm" (I agree...well, maybe not anything...but it would be very cool!)

--"What's the big deal about a hurricane, anyway?"

--(relatedly) "Why so much obsessive new coverage during Dennis?"

--"It was only a minor storm"

and then this from several folks here in S. MS, about 70 miles inland & 90 miles northwest of Mobile, AL (drum roll):

"Dang...I'm sooo disappointed that Dennis missed us" or "I'd love to be on the coast during a hurricane"

Basically, the previous thought is only uttered by those who have never lived on the coast when a hurricane struck. FYI, the beach bum has ridden out 2 storms on the coast, one in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, & one in Miami. I won't ride out another if I can help it! I'm struck by the randomness of it all. One house has virtually no damage; next door is a total disaster. One area of town has very little storm surge, another area of the same town is buried under water. One tree falls harmlessly in the back yard; another cuts a house in half. You get the idea.

I'm glad I've ridden out a hurricane, but I do not recommend it. One time was sheer stupidity & belligerence on my part (Miami). The other was bad luck. Ma beach bum & I got caught when one turned about 90 degrees & raced ashore. The turn caught a bunch of folks by surprise.

So I've been lucky twice.

As to "minor storm", here's an analogy for you. There's a humorous saying that goes like this: "Minor surgery is defined as surgery performed on someone else." I apply that same reasoning to hurricanes. A minor hurricane is one that strikes somewhere neither you nor any of your loved ones live. Ask residents of Navarre if they thought it was "minor". Ask residents of St. Marks--about 100 miles away from landfall--if they thought it was minor. You get the idea.

Now that ride on the hurricane hunter, on the other hand,...I'd love to make that one happen...

OK, I'm out.
the beach bum

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