It’s on everyone’s lips. Anyplace you go, especially in gas stations or places removed from TV sets, people ask “what’s the latest on Gustav?”
Despite the hurricane now having been downgraded to a tropical depression and with everyone still breathing sighs of relief that the levees in New Orleans held out, it’s too early yet to say we’re in the clear. The tail end of the storm still has the potential to wreak havoc, and as we speak another tropical storm, Hanna, might hit the Gulf Coast according to the weathermen, and after that hurricane Ike could also come in and hit towns and cities still staggering after Gustav. Also, one shouldn’t foget that despite this not being a repeat of the devasation caused three years ago, people have still died.
It was a lucky break for us personally too because according to our official schedule, we should have been in New Orleans yesterday. We decided not to go just because, as it was still recovering from 1995 and we have many places to see, we figured it might be better saved for a different trip. Well my brother figured that. I was all up for going. I’m quite happy I let him have his way now.
We’re headed for Memphis today from Nashville, and while there’s little risk to us so far as flooding goes, yesterday and the day before, you could feel the winds. Especially on the highway; it was eerily and extraordinarily blowy.
One thing I have noticed though is how much people, American people, sit up, take notice and are genuinely concerned and worried for those affected by these weather disasters. This morning, in the hotel dining room, where normally the (American) football results are on the TV and everyone is chatting, the TV news was talking about Gustav, and not a word was spoken in that room. All eyes were fixed on the reports and live coverage as it came in, and everyone was silent and attentive. These people weren’t hurricane refugees, but just regular Americans honestly and deeply concerned about those who were suffering further south. It didn’t matter that they weren’t immediately affected — others were and it moved them.
It was a grave morning in that cafeteria, but relief started to grow as it emerged that the storm was passing. It’s warming to see that people do, still, genuinely care.