Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Afternoon (Three Days Pre-Gustav)

I feel better when I am not watching television. I also feel better when I am not at the grocery store.

We just returned from Rouse's on the lakefront. The store looked closed. Crews were putting corrugated metal on the windows, but one door was open. Inside people looked as confused as I felt--like they didn't know whether to stay or go, whether to get more water or less, whether this is all some cruel joke, coming on the heels of the third anniversary of Katrina.

In the meat department they were knocking prices down by 50%, and everyone's hoarding instincts seemed to be kicking in. Because we still haven't decided if we will stay or go, we were preparing for both staying and going. We bought eight filet mignon steaks, two punds of ground buffalo, and two whole chickens.

Then Simon's brother called, and he seemed worried. Simon told him we were probably leaving, which confused me. I was loading more beer in the cart.

I had to leave. I cried in the parking lot. My mom called. I pulled it together and promised her we will be safe.

On the way home, driving through the Lower Ninth Ward on the back-of-town side, we passed the Katrina memorial and I felt just awful. When we pulled up, we saw that our across the street neighbors were leaving. I think they must have hated us--us bringing in the ice, the steaks, the beer. I hated us.

Now I am watching the mayor on TV and everything feels more serious than it did last night and yesterday. Gustav is a cat-4. My friends Amanda and Joseph called. Last night we planned to get together, to BBQ. But the 4 has Amanda worried, and she says they are leaving. Simon and I have agreed we will leave tomorrow morning if we have to, or even as late as Sunday night. We are hesitating, which I have never done before, because we have four cats who will suffer on the drive, and make us suffer, too. We are not stupid. We know how dangerous the storm is. We will be safe. We need time to batten down.

In the midst of all this, I can't believe that I am about to drive to the Northshore to pick up our dining table, but I am. It will not be insured in the furniture-maker's house, and we are--thank God--heavily insured. This feels like crazy-making. I have to get out before contra-flow begins and traffic gets bad. Simon is staying to board up and secure yard items. He has just come home after getting air in the truck's tires. I have to go... will try to write more and describe everything later.

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