Monday, August 29, 2011

906 Out of the Loop


906 Out of the Loop

(NEW ROSES, PA) -- Old habits die hard.  Here it is, a lovely sunny Friday afternoon in a small town shielded by mountains and bad highways, about 270 miles due west of Moote Pointe, NY, which is near New York City, right at dead center of Hurricane Irene’s path.

The gas tank is full.  The refrigerator and freezer are almost empty.  There’s a new bottle of Smirnoff’s on the shelf. Every piece of dirty laundry is washed, dried and folded.

Moote Pointe Marty is in the local New Roses Mega Mart with a shopping cart full of stuff.   Batteries. Duct tape.  A small radio. A few flashlights, a few candles.   A car charger for the cell phone.  Couple of bags of ice. A small barbecue and some charcoal.  A 50 pound bag of cat litter.  Chips, V8 juice, a few cans of Dinty Moore and Chef Boyardee and diced chicken breast and two family-size boxes of Total.

Harvey Checker-Outer looks at this stuff coming toward him at the register.  Always good for a few laughs and a good conversation, this fella, and he asks “Camping this weekend?”

Marty says “Nah, having an address in this ZIP code and a phone in this area code is as close to camping as I get.  This is hurricane prep stuff.”

For the first time in years, Harvey Checker-Outer is speechless.  But only briefly.  “Hurricane?  We don’t get hurricanes here.  Not even Irene.  What are you talking about?”

Marty:  “Ya never know.  Plus I’ve done this a time or two since about 1954 and you get used to it.  You hear ‘hurricane” and “east coast” on the radio.  You see Al Roker standing in front a big map that goes from Florida to Maine and has all those splotches of reds and yellows on it, you see Mike Bloomberg shutting down the subway,  you go buy this kind of stuff.”

At home, the computer is on.  It’s set to the New York Times animated hurricane tracker map.  You watch Irene amble up the coast.  You switch to the paper’s “neighborhood by neighborhood evacuation orders” map.  You try to get a live picture from the old street in Moote Pointe and you wait it out.  

Nothing.

In olden days, Marty was usually working during storms.  Nature of the job. It’s what news guys do.  But still, old habits die hard.

Shrapnel:

--Irene didn’t hit New York even close to hard as the predictions said it would.  But weather forecasting is as much an art as a science.  So don’t kill the messenger, just be thankful he/she/it was wrong.

--Of all the stupid words and phrases newspeople applied to this storm was “Irene unleashed her fury.”  First off, you can leash a dog, but not a fury.  Second it isn’t fury in the first place, it’s wind and rain.  And they can’t be “leashed” or unleashed either.

--Curse of the third term:  Bloomberg can’t win for losing.  First his sanitation department screwed up that big snowstorm last year and now, after closing the subways and keeping the buses in the barn, turns out there was no need.  It’s not going to get any better, Mike, because in a third term neither you nor anyone else can do anything right.



I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2011

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