Monday, August 29, 2005
How's That For A Slice Of Fried Gold?
Let's say you live in New Orleans. Let's say you live in New Orleans and you don't mind the mosquitos or the swampy-ness or the nothing-else-interesting-around-for-a-thousand-miles or the annual influx of pasty fanny-pack-wearing Nebraskans flooding Bourbon St. for the thrill of throwing up in your gutters every Mardi Gras. You're cool with all that. You stay because you love the easy access to great food and great music and the... um... food and the... uh... music. It's good.
You're sitting there watching the broadcast channels and all of a sudden, they interrupt your daily back-to-back Family Matters Power Hour (it was a good one too, with the Urkelbot and everything) to tell you "Oh sweet holy Jesus, everybody run! The hurricane! The hurricane! We're doomed! Doooooomed!"
But you know those weather people, they always exaggerate. That's how they keep their jobs; all journalism is sensationalism now. Like how they've been trying to convince us we were going to all be swarmed and eaten by giant Africanized killer bees any day now and we all know that will never happen.
Besides, why would you evacuate when they're playing Shaun of the Dead on HBO? You've been meaning to get around to seeing it and here it is on a channel that doesn't get pre-empted for stupid shit like killer hurricanes. What luck!
About an hour into it, the power goes out. And hang on, why is there two feet of water in your living room? And didn't you have a roof before the movie started? Bit breezy, now that you think of it.
So now you're floating down the street in your indestructible 1974 Chevy Nova. But the car radio says all the routes out of town are either choked with evacuation traffic or undriveable because of flooding. You can't find shelter underground because you'll drown and you can't go to high ground because... because this is New Orleans, where the high ground is actually below sea level.
Hmm, what's the biggest, strongest, safest building you can think of?
A-ha! Using the bill of a baseball cap as a rudder, you float your way toward the giant Louisiana Superdome.
Oh hey, several thousand others already thought of that. No big deal. Everyone knows it's always a party inside the Superdome.
There you are surrounded by strangers, everyone wheezing and coughing, wheeling from apathy to despair to terror, praying and crying, in some cases soiling themselves. All just like the last time you came to the Superdome to watch a Saints game. You feel right at home.
The Superdome is massive, solid, one of the largest structures in the whole world. It would be hard to imagine anything massiver or solider. Thousands of tons of concrete and steel and a waterproof impermeable roof designed to withstand sustained winds of up to 200 miles per hour. Come on, Katrina! Bring it, bitch! If Osama bin Laden were smart, he'd build hisself a Superdome. Sure he'd be easy to find, but good luck getting in.
Then just when you find a nice quiet spot up around the press box, away from all the noisy whining of the people who are "scared" or "genuinely suffering"... the roof starts to peel away. You're in a dome, but you can see the sky. You know the sky, that big blue thing with the hurricane in it.
If I were you, I think right around that point I'd just give up. Once atmospheric conditions are such that they are tearing the roof off the Superdome, I'd say things are looking pretty dire. Hell, I'm in California and I'm half-convinced this hurricane's going to kill me.
That doesn't seem to be the case, though. Here's a quote:
"I could have stayed at home and watched my roof blow off," said one of the refugees, Harald Johnson, 43. "Instead, I came down here and watched the Superdome roof blow off. It's no big deal; getting wet is not like dying."
First off, props to Harald's parents for going with the traditional Scandinavian spelling of "Harald". Second, I agree with Harald, "getting wet is not like dying". You know what is like dying? When the steel roof of the largest domed structure in the world collapses on you. That's exactly like dying.
Whether you, gentle reader, live in New Orleans or not, kiss your loved ones just in case. This might be the end for all of us. Katrina is coming for you. It's even a bigger deal than the death of my beloved mismatched shoes.
No, I'm not kidding.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.5