Looks like we might be getting a visitor here shortly.
Won’t know total specifics until the wee small hours of the morning -- and let me go on record as saying that this guest... totally not invited.
But I have prepared for this arrival because I am not only the consummate hostess, I am also interested in trying to preserve my sanity -- amongst other things -- during this visit.
Yep. It’s hurricane season, y’all.
And those damn storms -- SO rude -- will just come by, sans invite, to wreck tropical havoc for who knows how long. At least we have an idea about them coming -- even though they don’t actually call first, which would be the mannerly thing to do. Forewarned is forearmed dontcha know.
I’ve had a little experience with these sorts of things before -- can’t have lived in Florida all your life without having an encounter or two with a hurricane.
When I was a kid, there was a certain naive excitement about the storm. The perceived invincibility of the young coupled with the belief that Mama and Daddy would make sure all was ok. Now, the advent of the season is tinged with the scent of adult responsibility, caution and a bit of fear masquerading often times as stress.
I give you this picture from my youth -- the calm before the storm, as it were. I think this was taken right as Hurricane Agnes was sending feeder bands our way.
(By the way, I have NO idea what is up with those shorts I'm wearing. And do you think I could have combed my hair before the shot... good grief. A hot mess, even at age 9.)
And then there was the joy and delight of Hurricane Elena. Fall 1985. Big ass storm. Supposed to come onshore somewhere on the west central coast of Florida and then cut across the state -- through Gainesville.
My parents wanted me to come home -- but I opted to stay in town. I had homework and assignments that were due shortly and I figured I’d take advantage of being housebound to get some work done. So on Storm Day, I helped make sure the sorority house was secure and could weather whatever craziness Mother Nature threw our way before my two galpals (both PR majors with me) and I went to the art supply store to pick up materials for our respective projects. Very responsible students we three.
So... we then decided we were hungry. Figured we might as well get something to eat while we were out and the weather was still tolerable. I had a hankering for a chicken salad sandwich -- my favorite. There are few things in this world that make me happier than a really good chicken salad sandwich. And the place in town that made the best chicken salad, as far as I was concerned, was my favorite watering hole -- the Red Lion Inn. Off we went for a sandwich and a beer. And maybe a couple of games of video trivia. No big whoop.
The sandwich stayed a single sandwich.
The beer, however, turned into several pitchers.
A couple of video trivia games turned into a tournament. (In case you were wondering, I won. Boo-yah!)
And our well-intentioned plans of working on our projects morphed into a hare-brained scheme to sit in the bar and drink until the storm came.
The skies, however, were less than ominous. There was some rain -- those weird tropical showers that beat down like hell for a few minutes then pull back to a light sprinkle only to become torrential again. But nothing to get all excited about.
Unless you were us -- three drunk co-eds determined to be thrill-seekers, even if it was just from the parking lot of a bar. We drug tables and chairs outside and sat in the lot, just waiting for the storm to come on down.
Ate some chips.
And waited some more.
Nothing. No big onslaught. No funky looking funnel clouds. Nada.
Turns out the storm made a pinball machine move and literally bounced off the west coast and ended up coming on shore in the Panhandle. The only thing we got in Gator Town were some feeder band shower. All our prep work -- and liquid lubrication -- was for naught.
And so, as our dreams of being hurricane rebels cane to an end, it came time to pay our tab. As luck would have it, the only cash I has was coin. My laundry quarters, to be exact. Nothing like drunkenly trying count change to pay your bar bill. I have a hard enough time when I’m sober figuring out bills -- I’m so right-brained that looking at a complicated restaurant tab gives me a headache. Don’t ever ask me to be treasurer of anything. Tales of my financial shenanigans have caused more than one of my accountant-type friends to break out into hives. I kid you not. More on that later. Promise.
Leave it to me to turn an act-of-nature non-event into something that required Tylenol, Gatorade and a big greasy breakfast to soak up all the beer in my system. Ridiculous idea. Dumb idea. Stupid idea. But at the time, it made perfect, beautiful sense. Don’t plans like that always?
PS: Had to include this video from one of my fave new groups, Black Kids. Damn good name for a song -- don’t you think?