The last time I prepared for a hurricane was the summer of 1996. I was working on a small ferry that carried passengers to a nearby private beach on
The heavy rains and winds started on our trip back to the mainland. Being sixteen, I thought of the semi-dangerous trip as an adventure, with three-foot waves crashing against the side of the boat, shooting dirty baywater spray in my face. When we arrived at the dock, my dad was there to pick me up and take me home, just like I imagine it was for Columbus and Magellan.
At home, I walked in to find the whole family huddled together in the basement watching TV, surrounded by board games, playing cards, and candles. It was a serious scene – a family glued to the Weather Channel, gripped by the fear of mother nature’s fury. Until my mom came down the stairs carrying another tray of piña coladas. I was shocked. Not because there were teeming rains and 50mph winds knocking down tree branches outside while my mother blended tropical frozen drinks, but that my mother blended any drinks at all. She had a noted reputation for hardly ever drinking. A sip from my father’s beer here, or a glass of wine there – that was all. But apparently hurricanes were a real fete, reason enough to dig into the back of the liquor cabinet for the rum and break out the blender. I remember hoping it would escalate to a full blown hurricane so maybe we would get some appetizers, too.
Half an hour and one round later, my mom tripped up the steps, signaling an end to the fun.
My point being, that’s the way I learned to prepare for a hurricane, so that’s how I’m doing it now. At the Publix today while everyone else stocked up on bottled water and canned goods, I filled my cart with beer, salsa, and the ingredients for turkey chili.
As the woman at the cash register scanned my Pepperidge Farm cookies and fresh mozzarella, she shot me a look like You know there’s gonna be a hurricane, right? and then asked, “Do you need any batteries?”
This threw me. First of all, because I really did need batteries for my electric toothbrush. But how did she know that? I look at her confused.
“For your flashlights.”
My first impression was that it’s probably best not to engage this crazy woman going on about flashlights. But then I gradually put two and two together and was like, “Oh right! Flashlights. For all the darkness.” So I bought a pack of batteries for my “flashlights” and went on my way.
At home, I immediately started looking for my flashlights. I must have some, right? I remember it being one of those things my mom made me buy when I first moved out. I made fun of her at the time, reminding her that I was moving into an apartment in
Except it takes AAA batteries, and my electric toothbrush takes AA.