Sunday, August 26, 2012

Crying in the Rain


The postponement of the GOP National Convention is not the most ridiculous reaction to the coming drizzle named Isaac. It’s just the most publicized. We Americans love to dramatize our own plight, a tactic which, intentional or sub-conscious, allows us to maintain our self-appraisal as the most important people on Earth.
I had mistakenly thought Isaac had already blown up the east coast; this from one facebook post from someone lamenting the six inches of rain that had fallen overnight in Delaware and another announcing a power outage in Florida. Good Lord above, this isn’t a hurricane, this is Armageddon! I’m sorry God….for everything!!... (Okay I'm exaggerating.)

A check into the situation on weather.com, however, explains, in a series of news clips, the situation – in particular, the American inclination to dramatize our plight. (Please do tune in, these clips are well worth it, if for no other reason than to understand just how keenly incisive my thoughts are.)





The weatherman of the minute shows how parts of Florida could see six inches of rain by Tuesday morning. ‘Possibly upwards of ten inches’ he adds. ‘And winds approaching 90  miles per hour!’ He obviously does not spend much time in the international weather newsroom, if he even knows where it is.
‘Typhoon Produces 130mph Winds’ – A series of short clips from Okinawa, Japan. No need for overblown commentary on this.

‘Wind and Waves Pound Cuba’ – More clips of rough weather, along with shots of kids in the debris-littered streets…and three guys out near a waterbreak taking a bath.

‘Isaac’s Winds Shred Tent City’ – A man already living in a tent from last year’s earthquake now loses that. Cheers to the guy down there trying to show us that we may not be the ones suffering through Armageddon.

‘Florida on Alert for Isaac’ – Sure I’d be putting my patio furniture in the garage too. What I don’t get is all these people rushing to Home Depot for plywood for their windows. Why don’t they reuse the plywood they all rushed out to buy for the last hurricane?

'Isaac Delays GOP convention’ – Seems the celebration is being delayed. ‘Even if Isaac only brushes this area,’ reports Armageddon expert Jim Cantore, ‘there could be logistical problems.’ He goes on in a somber tone to explain that if the three bridges connecting the Pinellas County peninsula and downtown Tampa are shut down due to the weather, the delegates may have to take the overland route from their beach hotels to the convention, ‘a trip that could take three hours’. In a limousine with a wet bar, Jim.
Interesting to note that this piece about the RNC is the only one preceded by an advertisement. What does this tell us?

Tampa mayor Some Guy says having the convention is his city wasn’t a bad decision. ‘We haven’t had a hurricane here in 90 years,’ he says. So the Armageddon of wind and rain that blows through Florida every single year hasn’t hit Tampa since sometime around the end of WWI? Home Depot’s Board of Directors must be laughing their butts off.
‘High Threat for Tornadoes from Isaac’ – Dr. Greg Forbes gives South Florida a ‘TOR:CON’ of 8, meaning an eighty percent chance of a tornado within fifty miles of the southern part of the state, from sometime in the morning on through the evening hours. As if terms like ‘Torcon’ and ‘Dr.’ aren’t enough to get an ad placed in front of his video clip too, he uses moving blue arrows to indicate the large swath of Florida that could be hit by winds of up to 75mph. Mr. Forbes and his urgent voice should take a vacation – to Haiti perhaps. Or Cuba, or Okinawa.

I need to wind this up because before any of us realize it the rain showers will have blown over and all this will be old news.
Wait, an advertisement before ‘Haiti Hit Hard by Isaac.’ An ad for denture adhesive, which may or may not be an indication of what is most on the minds of Florida's elderly as the breeze floats closer. No commentary on this clip of Haiti, nor on ‘Isaac Drenches Haiti’ which shows people and homes of sheet metal and tarps in three feet of water. ‘Isaac comes ashore in Santo Domingo’. I’m willing to bet few of those who have not skipped over this clip to get to ‘Key West Gets Ready for Isaac’ (and a man stating that he is leaving at 12:15 on Sunday. 12:15. Not now, not in the morning. 12:15. Because, one can only guess, he has other things to do until fifteen minutes past lunchtime) know where Santo Domingo is. Fewer still will bother to find out. Tampa could get as much as six inches of rain by Tuesday after all. Get out the candles, we need to hold a vigil.

There are American voices of reason out there though. A Key West mother of four boys (who evidently wear matching blue polos and khaki shorts whenever the wind whips up – or when there’s a news crew on the block) says she and her family have been through all this before and sees no reason to leave. Key West mayor Craig Cates also gets a video op – he’s got a Bermuda shirt and a baseball cap on, I think he’s related to Jimmy Buffet. Not only is he confident his island will be fine, he is adamant that no one will be stranded without their salt shaker.
I’m interested to see what the RNC delegates and other various elected officials will do with their time what with the convention being delayed. I’d urge them to go out and weather whatever storm comes down on their and their fellow GOPers’ constituents further south - you know, see what they can do to help out. More likely though they will find a way to use our tax dollars to do what they do best: Take cover from what is pounding the rest of us. (By the way, put the knee-jerk responses on the shelf: I'd say the same thing if it were the DNC being held in Tampa.)

** Yes I know I can be a sarcastic ass. My sincere apologies in advance to anyone who suffers loss in this year's natural disaster of the century.