Monday, August 29, 2005
I wanted to thank everyone who recently commented on my blog: Will, Noodge, bitjocky, Anna, anonymous (x2), easywriter and I hope I haven’t left anyone out. I have been busy dealing with hurricane Katrina, no electricity and cleaning up around our house. I must say that I am grateful that we only got Katrina in her hurricane “1” category instead of the “4-5” strength that the poor folks of Louisiana and the gulf coast communities are dealing with. Please, let us all send our good wishes and thought out to these folks. I wanted to offer some brief observations about this hurricane and how my small community dealt with it. One hopes, in general, that after a disaster that people will come together, help each other out and try to be good to one another. I must commend FPL (Florida Power and Electric) for their amazing work, working around the clock; to give us all electricity (translates to air conditioning) again. They have been wonderful and very hard working. Over a million people were without power in South Florida and all of us, miserable. Neighbors were kind, and in some cases, met each other for the first time. People lent helping hands to clear away debris and help where help was needed. All of these aspects lifted my heart, but did not really surprise me—people can be very generous. However, I was surprised at how rude many people were as well--not just one or two cases but a wide-spread tendency to become a bit of an asshole. This was especially seen when driving. What part of a “4-way stop” do people not understand? And why are you flipping each other off and yelling obscenities out of your car windows? What is the point? Does it get you to your destination any faster? How many car accidents I saw because people would not tread downed traffic lights like a 4-way stop: 5-7 . . . I can’t quite remember, but was not out very much so this is a high number. And when people did treat these stops like a 4-way stop, we, I, got treated to obscenities. After the storm, only a handful of businesses could re-open. Thank god to the ones who had a back-up generator or was one of the lucky few with electricity. And yet, here too patrons were repeatedly rude and angry. At a drug story, on only back up electricity and no AC, a man was yelling at a worker who took a step back from the cash register to wipe her brow and take a moment for herself from the heat. In this moment she exchanged a few words with another co-worker. The man-customer went ballistic! “Why are you not at the cash-register? Why are you gossiping on the job? I want you name and this store number, I am going to report you!” What the F*&%? Get over yourself dude! I saw the whole thing and said: “She’s just hot. Thank god there is someplace open, after all!” But this guy did not care, and just kept going at this poor woman. I saw several other instances at a Denny’s, gas stations, stores and the like. What a waste of time and energy. People yelling at the overworked FPL workers, tree-trimmers and cable people—all of whom were working their asses off. Gas station owners were jerks in some cases, raising the price of gas over night or, as one case was broadcast, blocking off the “regular” gas, the lower cost gas, saying that there was nothing but premium left. This was a lie and people were outraged. Another two people dressed themselves as FPL workers and went door to door trying to get into peoples houses to rob them. I should not be surprised by I am. I do wonder why, why is there a need to hurt our fellow beings especially after a horrible event such as a hurricane. I do not wish to concentrate on the negative here, as I said many good people have been lending a helping hand, but I do want to urge people to get their shit together and do some attitude adjustments. Not everyone, of course, but those out there who take their frustration out on a stranger or friend. We are all hot; we are all stressed, but learn some breathing techniques or something, will ya? Thanks. Rebecca P.S. Thanks again for all your encouragement. My journey in the academic world is just beginning.