Wind and Water

It rained here in Chicago for almost two days straight, flooding some neighborhoods and suburbs and I kept thinking that this is what it's like in Houston, though I knew it wasn't. In Houston it had stopped raining and there was flooding but mostly devastating wind damage and widespread power outages. My sister got out Friday and drove to Austin. Like me, she has asthma and needs air conditioning to filter the air. This morning she was planning to go to Dallas to stay with our cousins. My mother, on the other hand, is staying on the 14th floor of her condo. She wouldn't go to Austin with my sister. She's just finished clearing out her freezer and she's ready to leave. She's planning to fly to Dallas on Tuesday. She's betting that the airports will be open then.

My mother called last night at 8:30. right before I got home. Her message said that she was going to bed because it was dark. She didn't have power or a land line that worked, and she had to watch her cell phone use because her charger relies on electricity. Her building allegedly has a generator, which was supposed to keep the elevators running. They weren't until today. And her land line just came on today.

She made kugel before the hurricane, because it was something you could eat hot or cold. She cooked a chicken and put it in the freezer. She filled the bathtub with water. We all remembered Hurricane Carla in 1961. I remember sitting huddled over the transistor radio and hearing a report that the roof of a gas station had blown off. My sister's house is untouched, but the garden was shredded. Her husband was grilling the meat from the freezer.

So far, Ike has caused 30 deaths in the US and 80 in the Caribbean and untold damage. In Galveston two legendary hotels are gone, and it seems most everything else is, too.

Some offices in downtown Houston had power yesterday, and the Texas Medical Center was open, according to NPR. I remember reading a science fiction story years and years ago about life where humans had total control. Each day's weather was decided by vote. That was an aside, not the main part of the story. I wonder, after days and days of beautiful clear weather, would a hurricane faction emerge? Would people form a Wind and Rain Party and urge fellow citizens to vote for destruction and death, because bad weather is more interesting?

At least there would be someone to blame.