It began with a quake and ended with a blow. The week of Aug 20-27, 2011 will long be remembered in the Washington DC area as Mother Natures wake-up call. There was no warning for one and massive media hype for the other, but within five days the area experienced a 5.9 earthquake, and tropical storm force winds from Hurricane Irene.
We are not so different from others across the nation. We get up in the morning and go to work to feed our children who drive us crazy with endless complaints about our general lack of understanding their generation. We whine about our long commutes, lack of work or too much work, lunatic co-workers and insensitive bosses. Spouses who exhaust us with endless reprisals of work yet to be accomplished. Husbands secretly harboring general relief that football is back.
We are not different from the rest of America, until there’s a forecasted natural disaster on the horizon. Then we become nervous impersonations of a bad Woody Allen character on crack. Buying all the bottled water, batteries, flashlights, and emergency paraphernalia that we can lay hands upon. While emptying every grocery store of milk, bread and other culinary essentials. God forbid that we actually go through a twenty four hour period without all the necessities of modern living.
When the earthquake struck, our cell phones crashed. This caused near panic amongst twenty-something’s who were forced to actually interact with other humans without an intervening screen. Teenagers were so excited that they forgot to be miserable, and the usually staid Capitol Hill crowd was recounting their 25 seconds of moving earth with the vigor of an evangelist during a revival meeting.
Then it became clear that the DC Metro area would be impacted by Hurricane Irene. A horse of a very different color. With several days to prepare, and our media machine in full hyper drive many were drowning before the first drop of rain fell. Many more wondered if all these calamities were a divine commentary on our fiscal irresponsibility’s. Then there were a few, which sat and waited for the hype to end, so that disaster could be met, neighbor helped, and calamity averted.
We are not different in the Washington DC area than the rest of our beloved nation.
Excitable, perhaps. Dependent on information technologies, certainly. Fervent belief that Washington is the center of the known universe? Guilty. Yet in the face of Mother Nature’s fury we are all reminded of Albert Einstein who observed that his knowledge was but a grain of sand upon a mighty shore of an endless sea.