Friday, September 02, 2005

Minor setback

Just as we're pulling off the Interstate, only five miles from home and still giddy from the thrill of the hunt for fuel, I notice I have cell coverage again.

A week ago, I was wrapping up my paperwork for the new job, meeting new faces, and saying, "See you when this Katrina thang blows through."

It has been seven eternities since then. I didn't even think about work, until I saw those bars on my phone.

I know from the neighbors that the Copa and the Grand in Gulfport were destroyed. I'm sure my casino didn't fair much better, if not worse.

But I try the 800 number my mother gave me for their Hurricane Hotline. And nearly plow off the road when a friendly voice answers after the second ring.

Like so many other events since the storm, the conversation blurs until only the core ideas remains in my head:

The casino is nearly destroyed. Won't be operational for months. If not years. I'm not in their database. (Monday, August 29th, the day Katrina wiped the Coast from the face of the earth, was supposed to be my first day.) I didn't go to orientation, so I was never flagged as employee. They have no record of me. Would not have even checked on me, if I hadn't called them. For all intents and purposes, I'm not really an employee.

But the executives are starting to gather in Biloxi, and the Hurricane Hotline folks will pass along my information.

Somebody will contact me.

Sometime.

In the future.

Somehow.

This isn't good, I think. Something of a minor setup. And that's all the thought I give it. For now.

My family is alive, I tell myself. My parents have a house. My grandparents have a house. My brother has a house. We have food. We have ice. And now we have gasoline. That is all I need to bring the grin back to my face.
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