I don’t want to alarm you, but this summer, we are all going to die.
My mother-in-law just told me. She saw it on the Weather Channel. And if her meteorological data is correct, this will be the worst hurricane season since the bombing of Hiroshima.
Hurricanes, you see, mean evacuations for us folks on the Gulf Coast. And, if you’ve never participated in a frantic, city-wide evacuation, you don’t know what you’re missing. Imagine an impromptu vacation with your mother-in-law, and fourteen boxes of her family photographs riding shotgun.
Evacuations are highly orchestrated maneuvers, in which thousands of vehicles, stuffed with tiny-bladdered people, sit in stand-still traffic. People whose only means of survival rest on your mother-in-law finding clean stalls.
Often, county officials issue these mandates ten minutes before storm landfall. Which can be quite frightening. The important thing here is to:
1. remain calm.
2. don’t let your mother-in-law drink any fluids.
Because during the evacuation, you’ll sit in traffic for several anxious hours.
“Honey,” you’ll say to your wife, staring at the bubbling black clouds. “If something happens to me, I want you to remarry.”
“I’m scared,” she says.
“I’m out of Coke,” your mother-in-law adds. “Crank the AC down. I need to eat. I’ve got the shakes. Is that a tornado? They say on the Weather Channel…”
Smile at her and then turn on the radio.
Music will ease your mind and help you relax. Except, radio disc jockeys, who’ve already fled town, aren’t playing music. They’re broadcasting computerized forecasts that sound like Darth Vader reciting the book of Revelation.
“Wind speeds,” sayeth the robot. “Seventy miles…” Pause. “Per hour…” Pause. “This is…” Pause. “Really bad…”
Once you finally get a few hours inland, you might believe you’re safe.
Not the case.
For example: Hurricane Ivan. We left for middle Alabama. The storm, after knocking over a lawn chair in Daytona, skipped the state line, and sucked Alabama into the solar system.
So, make no mistake about it, I’m going to die this summer. And if you live anywhere near me, you will too. But if for some reason you survive the onslaught —and I’m serious about this—take good care of my mother-in-law.
Help her work the remote.
So she can watch the Weather Channel.