Before I continue, let me address the loss from hurricane Ian. I have seen the devastation, the destruction. It pains me just imagining coming back to a home that is almost unrecognizable, and my hearth goes out to the families who sustained significant damage because of the storm. Especially of the kind that no insurance can replace. The memories, the photographs, or relatives or pets. I am sorry for your loss.
We were fortunate enough to turn out unscathed by the event, so this is not about that, but about the days leading up to the arrival of the storm and how it affects our human interactions.
Anyone who has lived in South Florida long enough is accustomed to extract critical information from the weather broadcast within the corner of their eyes. We have also became tone deaf to the news, so we dismiss the eventual coming of a big storm until it’s a couple of days away. “It looks like it IS coming”, you start to hear.
At that point, the race to get ready starts. Everybody gets to frantically stock up on essentials and the not so essentials. Water, cash, gas, batteries, canned goods, and also booze. And as tensions grow, civility gets put away for now. Speed limits and traffic lights become bare suggestions, lines are cut, and sometimes birds are flipped. It really brings out the worst in us.
At the neighborhood, while people prepare, and board up, the elderly get a hand, the one guy who’s not afraid of heights gets all the upstairs windows done, tools and goods are borrowed, or even given away: “I got two, you can have this one”. It really brings out the best in us.
It is the same event. Nothing changed. But how we react depends largely on whether we see our fellow human beings as “us” or “them”.