I read something on social media last week that struck me. It was a picture of a tree blowing here in Florida, and the caption read: “A hurricane is the only normal thing that’s happened all summer.”
I didn’t lose any sleep over Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaias. Literally. I slept all night and woke up to sunshine, and it was one of the best nights of sleep I’ve had in months.
It wasn’t that I didn’t take the threat seriously. It’s that I’m tired of being tired. A hurricane finally interrupted the news cycle of COVID-19, protests and political backbiting. I can’t take it anymore. Anything, including a hurricane, was welcomed diversion. The fact it didn’t do any damage to the First Coast allowed many of us to smile for the first time since March.
Nobody has patience anymore. We’re all on the edge. We look at people without masks with disdain. They look back with equal contempt.
We argue about politics and social discourse, and there’s no room for compromise. I’m right; you’re an idiot.
We’re tired of being afraid and mad. And mostly, we’re tired of not knowing how this will all turn out.
We salute our stores and restaurants for demanding the use of face coverings, then we shake our heads in frustration when they don’t enforce it.
We fight whether our children should return to school. Worse yet, it’s become political fodder, not a conversation of risk and facts.
As the storm crawled up the coast, nobody boarded their windows or surrounded their property with sandbags. Highways weren’t filled with people running from the storm. Shelves of water, bread and diapers weren’t picked clean. Heck, even gas stations didn’t get a chance to price gouge.
After everything else we’ve been through the last six months, maybe we were ready for something else. Bring it on, Isaias.
Emergency management offices were operational around-the-clock. They know Mother Nature doesn’t always stay on script. And they also knew they largely were talking to an audience that’s gone tone deaf with indifference.
For people in charge of keeping us safe, Isaias could be a perfect storm. Emergency management offices did all the right things. They sent out warnings; they had options for any scenario. They prepared for the worse and hoped for the best.
The problem was most of us didn’t pay any attention. We lost our sense of normalcy months ago. That will make their jobs even more difficult for the next storm, especially if we’re still in a chokehold by a virus that continues to affect every aspect of our lives.
The number of those infected by COVID-19 has become so large, it’s difficult to put it in a personal light. Like the growing national debt, it’s become a number without a face.
A half million have caught the virus in Florida. Clay County has 3,000 of them. Unfortunately, that also includes 49 deaths.
And then there’s the election. Local and national races have become so partisan and nasty. We no longer debate ideas and platforms. We argue. We point out flaws in our opponents instead of promoting our own positive qualities.
Now we’re arguing how we’re going to vote, whether it be in person or from a mailbox. Makes you wonder how many election offices will mistakenly get a letter from Publishers Clearing House.
Now that Isaias is nothing more than a whisper, I am relieved it spared Northeast Florida from its fury. But it was a good diversion while it lasted.