I live in Washington State, just outside the city of Seattle. It rains here a lot, yeah, but it’s not like we have to ever worry about things like tornadoes or hurricanes. Well… that’s what I used to think, anyway.
Washingtonians were hit with some pretty hefty winds (69 mph, a record for Seattle) last week which knocked out electrical power for over a million residences and killed at least four people. My family went without power for almost two full days and we were the lucky ones. I have friends and coworkers who have been without electricity since Thursday night and are still waiting for the lights to come back on. They’re exhausted. You can see it in their faces. They display the abusive remnants of Very Little Sleep, Room-Temp Chef Boyardee, and Perpetually Visible Breath. I think something called Dire Boredom also beat them about the neck and face a few times over the past several days. Used a heavy rubber hose by the looks of it.
I imagine those Louisiana-to-Florida residents reading this have already commenced with the eye-rolling (pffft, 69 mph is a gentle breeze!) and determined that we in the Pacific Northwest are a fat lot of pansy-ass whiners. Fair enough. But for people not accustomed to December winds folding eighty-foot fir trees like pipe cleaners, it was a rather taxing experience.
But it was also educational. Indeed, many facts were laid bare by the raucous gusts of December 14 and 15.
Fact: Shivering is a remarkably effective form of isometrics.
Fact: Cats can sleep in nearly any conditions.
Fact: Watching TV is more important to some than eating or staying warm.
Fact: You are not as prepared for a disaster as you think you are.
Fact: Some people have no idea that charcoal barbecuing indoors will kill you.
Fact: Huddling together over a laptop computer watching Shaun of the Dead kills 99 minutes and, potentially, your crappy notebook battery as well.
Fact: Cold cream-of-chicken soup doesn’t taste any better if you pretend it’s vichyssoise.
Fact: Distant friends you haven’t spoken to in months still care about your well-being.
Fact: Stocking caps are not silly.
Fact: I'm a freaking wimp compared to a homeless person.