Sunday, August 28, 2011

A rain with a name

Danielle’s visit to the scaffolding showed a number of corrugated metal sheets and other various items that could blow away and be dangerous. We need to get these things secured before the storm hits. 
On the way to the church, things are strange. Whole Foods closed at 9 AM. But our neighborhood Mani Market is open. And the line stretches around the bloc. As I head to Ace Hardware, I wonder which lines are longest, grocery store or hardware store? The lines are long. There’s been a serious run on duct tape. I buy a large tarp and industrial staple gun and staples.  The corner sanitation trash barrells have all been turned upside down. And I see that even Starbucks is closed. 
At the church, the Woodshed folks brought all the tables and chairs in. Pumps at ready. Sandbags near by. All windows secured. John H has come by to help. We bring the ladder down and outside so we can go up on the scaffolding. But once its up, it’s clear. John can’t go up and me neither. I think about going up, but it’s starting to rain and just one slip and I’m done. I  call my son Dan who grabs a cab and comes down to help out. 
On the corner, two special police have been stationed in neon yellow vests. I walk over and talk to them. This is considered a strategic corner, transportationwise. Need to make sure there’s coverage in case of power outage and traffic lights going out. There’s round the clock coverage until 9 pm tomorrow. 
The one cop tells me he’s got two years to go to retirement. Normally just gets to drive higher ranking officers around. Wants to make sure if he’s here extended time he can get home  to get his medications. But it’s not bad, y’know? he says and laughs. I’m glad they’re there.
Danielle goes up and over the scaffolding facing. Dan goes up behind her with the tarp and staple gun. They tie the tarp down over the metal sheets, staple it to the bridge. They clear off stray items: metal rods, a chair, a screen. It’s raining harder. That’s all we can do.
Heading home, I see a homeless person has come under the scaffolding. I wonder what will happen to them. I hope that the police are prepared. 
There’s a sense of breathless anticipation. Half anxious. Half excited. About half the people seem panicked. Others are mixing drinks. (How are the liquour store lines?) Our neighborhood Mexican restaurant moves the outdoor tables closer in and continue serving food and Tequila.  Some people  have this apocalyptic sense and others, ah, we’ll deal with it. That’s who we are. So we’ll wait. See what happens.
My friends in New Orleans say that, after Katrina, when a rain storm comes up, little kids say, does this rain have a name? They've learned, a rain with a name, beware. This one does. This one’s Irene.

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