My eyeballs are very tired. They’ve been on overdrive this week.
No, not from staring at my computer screen (though that’s pretty much all I’ve done). Or reading (too much work to do that). Or even studying radar and satellite maps (though I did do that).
It was the eye rolling.
Apparently, there was a hurricane named Earl headed our way. And the hysteria began on Monday. It included:
- stockpiles of water
- ones of tens of flashlights
- lots of batteries
- food that doesn’t require refrigeration
- the procurement of generators
- moving outdoor items inside
- candles, candles, candles
- and more of the same.
Let’s be clear, Katrina caught us with our pants down and our asses hanging out, unpleasantly, for the world to see. And, dammit, that was not going to happen again.
- a state of emergency was called (I do like our Gov’ner)
- rumors that NSTAR would preempt the storm by shutting off the island’s electricity ran faster than a Kenyan down Boylston
- the Red Cross arrived
- the National Guard was activated
- windows were covered with plywood
- a road ban was instated
- businesses were shut down
I remained relatively blasé and cynical about the whole thing. I did finally get some food, I borrowed a flashlight, I stockpiled books (though this wasn’t hurricane-induced, but rather just another day in the life of Julie). But I only did these things because I’m depressingly superstitious.
And then, my dad called.
Panicked and full of stories about a tree falling through my roof and pinning me to my bed. Killing me. And why? Because I was stubborn and unprepared and taking ridiculous chances. With my life.
Do you have a father? Well, if you do, then maybe you understand my predicament. You see, dads know shit. They’ve been around. They’re very smart and authoritative. Dare I even go so far as to say they’re ‘pushy’.
(At least this’s how my dad is—I’m very, very lucky. Obviously.)
So, I admit that finally, after listening to him—while I pretended I wasn’t—I started to get a little bit scared about the storm. I contemplated staying with a friend (in her sturdy house that offered a first floor below a second floor, so a tree couldn’t crush me as easily as in my insanely dangerous and inept second floor studio). I watched the weather updates. I got more nervous.
But, Earl had other plans. He got weaker as he approached and he did, in fact, turn east. And when it finally started to storm here around 9pm, he was brutally stripped of his manhood and compared to nothing more than, gasp!, a nor’easter. Pshaw, a measily nor’easter? That we can handle ’round these parts.
It rained hard. There was meager huffing and puffing, but neither my studio, nor any trees blew down. Most of us slept right through it.
This morning, as promised, the sun was shining. I slid into my runners and set out for an 8-miler.
- I saw nary a twig on the ground.
- The roads looked like they had the day before.
- I came across a street cleaner followed by a town truck—looking to clean up the mess, but instead just wasting our tax dollars.
- There were some puddles—in the same dips in the road that fill up after even a 10 minute rain shower.
- I did see a flooded front yard in a low-lying neighborhood–complete with the quintessential Vineyard kid (9 years-old, white blond hair, tan and lean, red boardshorts hanging impossibly low on non-existent hips) launching his surfboard and his self off the porch and skidding across the drowned grass that used to be his lawn.
- I passed a few other runners and we smiled at each other, waved and remarked on the glorious weather, saying things like, ‘Earl who?’
But for all of my skepticism and annoyance at the unnecessary fear that had been created, there was this one moment—when I was in Oak Bluffs on the other side of the lagoon, a good ways away from the harbor by car, but as the crow flies, maybe a mile, and I heard the ferry sound its horn. Clear as day, loud, strong and uninhibited by rain or wind or even a single cloud.
I was at mile 4, hot and covered in sweat, but when I heard that familiar sound—that sound that is the steady and constant soundtrack of this island—my body went cold, erupting in goosebumps. Every hair, from the nape of my neck to my shins, stood on end.
And I realized just how glad I was that our pants had been up this time—whether they needed to be…or not.
Image credit: The Martha’s Vineyard Times captured the famous Black Dog Tavern on Friday morning, before the ‘storm’.