How to make God laugh

Jun 25, 2010 by

This really is a banner hurricane year. I mean this from a very objective perspective: its hot as hell, no shearing winds, but what really puts it over the top is the oil. If anyone has a good guess as to what is going to happen when a hurricane hits that dispersant laden crude oil, I’m sure BP has had them killed by now. I do know that the Insurance Companies have said they will not cover oil damage to homes but then, these cats always plan for the worst. That’s not bad advice.

So I found myself thinking of the possible scenarios today and I kept coming back to the big unknown. Can the oil and/or the dispersants be picked up off the ocean surface in sufficient quantity to rain death down on us all? I just don’t know, but I think the best option is to assume it can to some degree. I should mention that the daily rains here in NOLA seem particularly unlikely to contain chemicals from the spill due to the lack of a significant aerosol-effect to cause enough of the chemicals to state shift – besides, most of those storms condense right over us.

Anywho, I’m just guessing like everyone else. My general rule is that at Cat III or bigger I’m out. This year I’m re-thinking that; not because of the storm at all but because of the possibility of a very toxic rain. Other than that, the short term plan hasn’t really changed.

Its the long-term that needs much more consideration. In the long-term I think we need to admit, at least internally, that this place may just be too toxic to return to…maybe for months…maybe years….maybe even decades. Its a horrifying thought but one best accepted here and now rather than from some remote place. If you accept that possibility you have an opportunity – a wonderful opportunity and a pretty big responsibility too. The opportunity is to get out there and do everything. Go walk in the parks. Go eat great food. Go visit with friends. Go do everything worth doing. In short, enjoy being here and intentionally make memories that you can carry with you as long as you have to. If nothing happens then all you’ve done is had one of the best Summers of your life.

Then there’s the responsibility – opportunities demanding, ugly sister. If something does happen, then we could find ourselves the custodians of an entire culture. If the only thing the dispersants actually disperse is us, as a community, then we need to take as much of this place with us as we can. We need to take recipes, and traditions, and memories, and anything else we can pack in our hearts and minds. And most of all we need to take each other.

A lot of people in New Orleans are tired – at least mentally. Our emotional equity hasn’t recovered completely over the last five years. It would be a good time to really set your ego aside and look at yourself. Are you able to take on the kind of fight we did five years ago? And be honest. If the answer for you is no, then you need to do what’s right for you when the time comes. Its difficult to see yourself as vulnerable, but it is potentially catastrophic if you make decisions without recognizing that you are vulnerable. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Try and gauge how they’re doing. See if there’s something you can do to help them. Sometimes – usually – that means just listening. And be patient with each other.  Things might get pretty crazy; and I don’t mean the lampshade on the head kind of crazy. Just remember, everyone around you right now is potentially a story that takes New Orleans out into the rest of the world.

We are all first hand witnesses of a terrible, ridiculous crime and I can think of at least one company and several politicians that would love for us to disappear. Its up to each of us to make sure that doesn’t happen.

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