Sunday, August 28, 2005

One last look

Filling the tank at a half-full Shell Station. I expect a torrent of people to explode into the local streets just after lunch. The church crowd will have said their last prayers. And their pilgramage ought to begin just as mine concludes.

Two cans of Red Bull and a wasp sting on my ear (yes, my EAR!) kicked me in the ass. I'm not sure if I have blinked in the last hour. Part fear, part energy drink. But I know my parents are a little safer, with the house boarded.

Neither my parents or my grand parents have ever fled before a hurricane and they don't plan on starting today. If I didn't have a family of my own, I'd stay with them. And the two dogs. And Mom's eleven little birds. All of us shaking our fists (or paws (or talons)) at Katrina. "We survived Camille!" we'd shout. "Bring it!"

God, I'm stupid. We're looking into the eye of a dragon, and somehow we think it will blink first. Like we're tougher than this damn thing. Like we're going to be able to survive on anger and venom alone. Repeating to ouselves over and over, "We survived Camille!" Our tribal mantra. Compelling us to believe we're braver and stronger than anything Nature can throw at us.

I pop in a CD and drive off, and take one last look at the neighborhood, thinking for the first time: How different will this world be when I return?

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