Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sporting a Drip Dry Dress for Irene

So today I broke almost all the rules of hurricane behavior.

Stay away from windows.

I can't recall a day when I spent so much time looking out the open windows.

The rain and the wind and the trees they were abusing made for such a show that it was irresistible not to just stand there transfixed by what was happening.

Every time I heard the distinctive crack of a branch breaking, I rushed to the window to see where it had landed on Clay Street.

Stay tuned to local TV.

Oops, don't have a box, so I couldn't obsess over the Weather Channel like so many of my friends were.

Stay tuned to a local radio station.

No can do. I can't abide any station in this town, so I listen to a public radio station in Charlottesville, where they made a point of saying all afternoon that it wasn't even raining.

Plan to be self-sustaining for three days.

While I have oatmeal, bread, cashews and plenty of fruit (clementines, cantaloupe and bananas), my main protein sources are Boars Head hot dogs and eggs. Lame, I know.

Have extra batteries.

By the time I heeded the hurricane warnings, there wasn't a "D" battery for sale within the entire Mid-Atlantic, but at last night's dinner party, my good friend had slipped me two "Ds" so that at least I have a working flashlight.

Stay inside.

That's easier said than done. When you live alone, it's inevitable that you go a bit stir crazy after a day like today.

I read for hours. I took a nearly two-hour nap. But after a while, I needed conversation in the worst way.

Throwing caution to the (60 mph) winds, I felt compelled to head out of here before 7:00, hoping like hell there'd be other people at the bar closest to me.

It was a dark walk. With the city having turned off the street lights for the evening (frayed wires and all), I put on my rain jacket, took the biggest umbrella I own and soldiered the two blocks to the Belvidere.

My umbrella threatened to turn itself inside out every third step. The lower third of my dress was soaked.

Must. Find. Other. Humans.

Besides the staff of four, there was only one person at the Belvidere when I arrived., but I was hopeful.

Before long, the owner delivered another (who knew they had pick-up service?).

I ordered a glass of Gatao Vinho Verde and settled in to meet some new neighbors.

One was a sous chef whose restaurant in my former neighborhood was closed tonight and the other a long-time firefighter who now works as a corporate drone for Capital 1.

Before long, a couple came in. And then two more. A three-top called before showing up. It was enough.

I was not shy about joining the other escapees, insinuating myself into their conversations and finding plenty to talk about.

Favorite quote: "The difference between boys and men is that men figure out a solution." Uttered by a man, of course.

The owner decided to document the occasion, shooting video of the storm on Broad Street and doing some slow pans through the bar while we drank and talked about today's endless sirens.

For my hurricane supper, I chose the Belvidere's stellar burger, knowing it was better than anything I had at home.

Smothered in caramelized onions and cheddar, the half pound burger was way more than I needed after a day of doing virtually nothing, but I was trying to store up for Irene's aftermath.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

For that matter, it's not like I know any of the post-hurricane rules.

Or that I'd likely follow them either.

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