Desolate streets. An 8 p.m. curfew. A lone bus stop with electricity. Gas lines wrapped for miles around streets. Limited food at select restaurants.
We have much to be thankful for as the winds of Hurricane Wilma blew through South Florida leaving more than cool temperatures in her path.
Making landfall on the southwest coast as a category three storm, Florida was spared by what was once a category five storm. Hours after sunny skies appeared, many residents in the surrounding Coral Gables area were fortunate enough to take in the low temperatures by walking, jogging or riding bikes for both exercise and damage assessment.
South Florida was hit harder than most expected, as was seen more in those areas north of Miami. The University of Miami finally got the week-long fall break students had always hoped for. And, although lives were disrupted with power outages and school and work closures, our lives returned to us much sooner than the residents displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
In our Miami-Dade bubble, we were given a short mental health break from our hectic lives. For all residents, the destructive consequences of a hurricane paused lives. Whether you rode out the beast of nature in Florida or took the fastest mode of transportation out of the state, all were unaware of how and when life would return to our personal norms.In the tinier bubble of UM, tests were postponed and reading days vanished; the school salvaged our month-long winter break. Many took the school closure as time to relax, catch up on work or stay in a week-long state of inebriation.
As school returned from its week-long interruption and the pieces of South Florida were slowly picked up, our country, state and world were again reminded this year of the destructive power and unpredictability that nature has. Despite having days to prepare for the storm’s impact, it seems that there is never enough time, energy and manpower to prepare; no one can deny nature’s way of always outsmarting the most intelligent of human beings and their sophisticated tools.
We can be annoyed and irritated that our precious daily schedules were interrupted, but this negative energy will add to the already high stress levels reached after waiting in gas lines for eight hours only to arrive at an empty pump. Whether comparing the disastrous storms of Katrina or Andrew or Charley, in these terms, Florida was spared from the worst as this year’s hurricane season finally comes to a well-needed close.
As cable, Internet and electricity are slowly restored, we can return our attention from nature to politics in the new day-time drama, All My Cronies. Things are not looking good for pals Karl and Scooter as special prosecutor P. J. Fitzgerald upholds the rule of law. Scooter was indicted but countered with his resignation. How about his foot injury? How do you arrest a man and put him in handcuffs when he his on crutches?
Sam Rega can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.