Monday, October 24, 2005


Well, Hurricane Wilma has finally come on shore in Florida, right about at the point where Mrs. Blue and I are planning to go in about three weeks for a conference. My conference had to be rescheduled to November because of one of the summer hurricanes that barely brushed the same place and caused little damage; guess they weren't so lucky this time. Maybe everything will be back in place and all shiny by the time we're supposed to leave.

I think that the entire Gulf coast of the U.S. has gotten a bad case of hurricane nerves. This is where all of our technology, the radar, the satellites, the aircraft and the computer modeling of the path, has probably made things worse rather than better. In the old days, folks just looked up and said "Looks like a hurricane's comin', best we lash ourselves to a tree"; now we sit glued to the TV and to various internet weather sites, waiting to see if we're going to be in the crosshairs of an increasingly arbitrary Mother Nature. We either sigh with relief when we realize that the Big One isn't coming our way or we begin sweating with fear and start trying to figure out which set of china to take with us on a mad dash to somewhere, anywhere, just as long as it is far away from where the Big One might land.

We had that experience quite some time ago in Boca Raton. We were there for a conference when a hurricane started making its way towards our hotel. Mrs. Blue started telling me that we really should leave, as she was watching the hotel staff put up all the outside furniture, while I was reluctant to leave until the bosses putting on the show said to leave. They finally did so and we started trooping north with all the other refugees...oops, I mean evacuees, up the Florida Turnpike. We finally stopped at my sister-in-law's place just north of Orlando, only to find out that the hurricane had missed our hotel and was heading our way. Too late to run anywhere else, we just sat and listened to the monster move by in the night. We never lost power (though others in the neighborhood did) and had a good visit with our relatives.

That's what you put up with for living in certain places. In Florida, it's hurricanes. In the Midwest, it's tornadoes. In California, it's earthquakes. Up North, it's ...well, it's being a Yankee.

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