‘You do have a generator?’ Asked a guy checking in at Fort Myers, ‘but it doesn’t work?’
And he lost his mind. The power was not yet off, the storm had not yet made landfall. Emotionally the toll is what you pay in panic.
Since moving to Florida I’m asked, ‘aren’t you afraid of hurricanes?’
‘No,’ I reply, ‘they are fun in the Hamptons.’
But in the Keys, with Irma the wrecking ball, the situation was different. Main St., Key West is usually bustling with girls in bikinis, instead there were men with hammers.
Q, my excellent friend & former US state department policy analyst, from his spy headquarters in Virginia guided me to gas while others found none and booked me grand hotel rooms when friends slept in vans. Thank Q!
From Fort Myers I drove into Georgia, mostly on the shoulder which we were encouraged to do, nonetheless we crawled. Southbound was army Humvees, propane trucks, work trucks and no passenger cars.
One night in Cordell, Georgia and I awoke to a flat tire. At a gas station I offered $10 to a man. He was indignant. ‘I’m sorry,’ I squirmed, ‘it’s to say thank you.’
He beckoned his friend and they fixed the tire but refused any money. I hung with their wives. Tampa residents originally from Brazil, the ladies toted babies in Batman PJs and they all had big sparkly green eyes. ‘We are making a road trip vacation out of the storm.’
Those who remained on the Keys are resourceful and tough as the nails they hammer. They stayed so as to rebuild. They are remarkable people. Those who can help did. I’m not a contender as I have a broken back from a car crash. I can get around but I cannot clean an island. Formidable friends are doing exactly that.
It’s been a week and the news from Key West is life is rough. No deaths but lots of cleanup. Their motto has always been: One Human Family ❤️