Monday, September 1, 2008

Evacuation

Gustav made landfall in Louisiana this morning. Much like people all over the country, I've been following the weather more than usual this weekend. Waiting. Wondering if this would be a repeat of three years ago. Living in Maryland, we're a long ways away from this particular storm, but the threat of hurricanes is no less real for us.

I saw footage of the packed highways leading out of New Orleans as residents fled. It made me question what I would do if we were forced to evacuate. I would most certainly go, but how do you prepare yourself for the possibility that your home might not be there when you return. Knowing that these things might be all I had to sustain me for an indefinite period of time, what would I bring? They began the evacuation several days ago, so many people had some time to think about what to pack. Aside from the obvious: pets, clothes, and personal necessities; what mementos of our life would make the cut? I worry that I would wander through the house, struggling to make the decisions, afraid that anything forgotten would be that one thing that would leave me riddled with guilt. I am like that, constantly second guessing my decisions. I've always wished that I could be one of those people that once they made a decision, it is as though the other alternatives no longer existed. They are that confident in their choices. Despite this uncertainty, there are a some things that I have no doubt would find their way into our car: photos, jewelry, personal documents and of course, the computer.

I would like to think that if challenged, I would step up and my better side would show through but who can say for sure what one would do in a crisis. My thoughts are with the hundreds of thousands of people who are and will be affected by this storm.

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for thinking of us in Louisiana! The wind is really picking up here right now. It is hard to decide what to take if you have to evacuate, especially since we learned that sometimes everything else may be gone when you come back. I've never been under an evacuation order, so I haven't had to do it, but it would be hard to know what to bring!

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  2. This TOTALLY put me in their shoes, more than anything else. ("Their" being the Gulf Coasters.) Wow...I can't even imagine. It's a scary thing. We've been checking the Weather Channel all day long...and worrying...and praying...

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  3. The whole thing is so scary!! I guess if there was an evacuation I would go--my husband's family had to evacuate their home b/c a resevoir on the hill above their house was cracked. They left w/out taking anything--not even pets--just the clothes on their backs. Their entire home was washed away and they lost everything, but luckily they all got out!

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  4. Visiting from Blog Around the World (a few days late!)...

    I'm like you - I make a decision, then spend the rest of my life trying to figure out if I made the right decision. It's quite frustrating!

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  5. I've always wondered this about Hurricanes. And about people making the decision to stay. We live where there are earthquakes so we know we wouldn't have a warning... you just are smart to keep supplies, and bolt everything to the wall.
    I guess it's a reminder of how little we're truly in control over.

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  6. My grandma survived a fire in her retirement community a year ago, so we're well aware of the impact of losing everything. She escaped with only the clothes on her back -- not even her purse or her cane. I'd add to your list your credit cards, photos, any diaries you've ever written, and recipes. Thankfully, my grandma had already given a lot of her stuff away when she downsized, but these are some of the things we've mourned most now that they're gone.

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  7. I really feel for those people having to evacuate again so soon after Katrina. I can't even imagine. I've never thought about having to make the decision of what I would take if I had to leave my house (which surprises me b/c I'm a big "what if" person) but like you, I would like to think I would step up and be a big girl about it, and take the essentials.

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  8. After witnessing Katrina from thousands of miles away, I looked around my house and wondered why I have so much crap since there is very little I would absolutely have to have. I think I'd grab my photos, the computers, my dissertation research, and my jewelry.

    As long as I have my husband and my boys, I know we could start over with nothing if we had to.

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  9. Thanks for coming by my blog in CA this morning. I wanted to come check you out too. I love your post from today and find I think much like you. Jewelry, photo albums, family and animals. What would I want to take? A Semi and load it all up just in case my home still stood when I returned. I wonder if anyone did this. It's hard to let go of anything for me. I hope you'll be back again. I'll try to get back soon as I've enjoyed what I've read thus far.

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  10. So would grabbing things willy-nilly, while pushing people out of the way screaming "Move it bub!" be the WRONG way to handle an evacuation????

    :)

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  11. This post reminded me of an unrelated incident that occurred when I was very small. Our smoke alarm went off, and I thought we would have to go to the top of the driveway and watch our house burn down. I gathered all my stuffed animals into my baby blanket, struggling to fit each one in the space, and they kept falling out. Luckily there was no fire, because I would have been running back inside to rescue my helpless animals and dolls.

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Give me some sugar, baby!