Disclaimer: I’m going to have some fun talking hurricanes this week, because bullies should be mocked. That’s not to make light of the devastation and loss of life that happened south of us in the Fort Myers area. If you want to help, please donate to the Florida Disaster Fund.
So. It’s another @!#$! Florida hurricane
Hurricane Ian visited this week.
In the Tampa area, 2017’s Irma was our last bout with a legit hurricane. So this week residents dug out hurricane kits covered in several inches of dust and cracked open beverages of choice. We settled in to watch TV reporters shout over high-velocity wind gales to add—truly—zero value to any viewer’s knowledge or emotional well-being.
But the media persisted nonetheless, employing innovative journalistic measures to report on wind and water.
Safety first, I guess.
Jimmy Buffett is a liar.
He sings about an approaching storm, lazily strumming his guitar as he contemplates slinking out of his breeze-cradled hammock in a rum-infused haze.
Squalls out on the Gulfstream
Big storm’s coming soon
Passed out in my hammock
Man I slept ‘till way past noon
This is how hurricane prep goes down.
Calm returns once you have battled your fellow citizens to acquire the trifecta of critical hurricane supplies:
Three days of food.
Enough adult beverages to make a Kenny Chesney concert look dry in comparison.
The memes were on point
As always, the Internet delivered the jokes.
Speaking of Jim Cantore—whose job is so dumb—how did he not shatter his femur intercepting this arboristic cruise missile?
Of course, everyone has their own irrational ideas about hurricane safety.
One of my favorites: don’t worry about a storm until the nearest Waffle House closes.
After every storm for the past decade, this fake photo of a shark swimming on a highway makes the Internet rounds:
Florida: “Hold my beer, fake photo.”
Why the wind frazzles your nerves
Even if you are fortunate enough not to sustain damage or be in real danger during a storm, you’re still fatigued as hell afterwards. You’re doing prep. You’re not sleeping well. Your nervous system elevates and stays at DEFCON 1.
But also … the wind.
The relentless wind takes a huge mental toll. And I think I know why (caution: pseudo-scientific theory ahead).
When an electric fan—white noise—runs in the background, it’s soothing. The fan offers a consistent hum your brain tucks neatly into a small corner of its consciousness.
But wind gusts and rests. The sound is ever-changing. Ian did this for a good 24 hours. And since our brains are wired to notice changes in our surroundings, mine paid constant attention to the wind as it waxed and waned.
I didn’t realize this until I popped my AirPods in to watch something on my iPad. I felt calmer immediately. My brain stopped paying attention to the wind.
Hurricane preparation tip: charge your AirPods, save your sanity.
Obligatory felled tree photos
In the Tampa area, we’ve had a wet summer. We’re like a half-gallon of water away from the ground turning into permanent quicksand. So the combo of wind and more rain was not good for trees in our neighborhood.
This street sign aspired to be a tree.
We all understand the power of hurricanes as they rage. But in his wake, Ian literally changed the season from steamy summer to fall.
We haven’t seen lows in the 60s since May. Maybe April. And the humidity is gone.
Ian was like an unruly bar patron, trashing the place but slapping down a healthy tip on the counter on the way out.
Not in the brochure
Hurricanes are part of the deal in the mostly-Sunshine State. The longer you live here, the more you get used to the annual rhythm of watching, waiting, and looking at weather forecasts rooted in less accuracy and facts than a standard congressional speech.
My family was fortunate. No damage. Unlike many local residents, we didn’t even lose power.
In the end, these storms are a reminder: we can plan, we can organize, but ultimately, we remain at the mercy of forces far larger and more powerful than ourselves. Even AirPods and adult beverages can’t drown that truth out.
Thank you for reading!
Whatever you’re working on or working through: keep showing up.
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Great hurricane edition, Matt! I'm glad you and your family are ok.
What a devastating hurricane for SW Florida. This ones going to sting for a while.
Glad you and your family are safe, Matt!
Great insights into Florida life, I especially love this hilarious passage:
“Hurricanes are part of the deal in the mostly-Sunshine State. The longer you live here, the more you get used to the annual rhythm of watching, waiting, and looking at weather forecasts rooted in less accuracy and facts than a standard congressional speech.”