August 28, 2008

Cone of Uncertainty

"What are y'all going to do?"
Funny, I hadn't thought of that.

You know somewhere out in the ocean, a menace is making decisions for you. You see photos of Haiti and recognize it even though you've never visited the island. You tell your mother it'll be OK.

You watch people who suffered through Katrina grow anxious, agitated. A few days ago, you drove around St. Bernard Parish and said how good it looks and now you think about all those people with their ass hanging out because no one's done enough for the levees protecting da Parish

You walk down Poydras Street and wonder what it'll look like next week and it's not even a street you like, but everything takes on that weird color of memory. Only you have no memory and you're sweating in the present. This must be important, even this crane, this lawyer.

You hear somewhere that it'd be good for the Democrats if another storm hits. You remember that it's 2008, and no matter how much people want to talk about hope, this is a cynical, worn out nation.

And you call and make some vague plans to go one direction if the storm turns one way, another if it goes east. You wish you'd made a friend in Memphis.

There is no good description of right now. A city full of people who live in the shadow of a storm that hit 3 years ago now await their fate with very clear visions of what that might be. Doom clouds up conversations. All over again, we're reminded how fragile this life is and, conversely, how much we loaded into its persistence. Gustav might be nothing, but we know the other shoe has to drop someday.

How bad that will be...a weatherman's best guest.