I need to make some clarifying comments on my entry from yesterday--I really was tired and discovered later that I was in pain as well. I hate having a high pain tolerance sometimes. People kept asking me what was wrong because I kept snapping at them--a very legitimate question but one I couldn't answer. It would have been much easier to control my snapping if I had understood that I was in pain from the start!
I wondered when someone would get around to guessing at the number of deaths, considering all those dead bodies that were being pushed aside.
I didn't mean this to be a flip comment, and it comes across that way to me today. What I meant was that I fear the impact of media publishing these early 100 or so death counts: people think we didn't lose very many people. What then happens is that unofficial stories circulate--sometimes written by people who are in the middle of the scene, and those stories deserve to be heard and treated with every ounce of respect we can offer--that paint a much grimmer picture, even suggesting 10,000 dead. The problem, of course, is that these stories often become fodder for rumors, and rumors are often spread like facts; and when they are disproved, the entire story is thrown out and the survivor becomes "crazy." What I wanted to say yesterday is that those of us who are far away really need to be taking into account the fact that a lot of bodies are getting ignored and a lot of people are not getting rescued and are dying in the aftermath because their illnesses aren't getting treated as they normally would--see a future entry with comments on a CNN article.
I don't think I'd feel too safe on a ship as a shelter if I had just been plucked off my roof after nearly drowning.
kl1964 pointed out to me that sometimes you go where you've got to go and at least Carnival is trying to help... I still don't think I'd want to be out on the water. Remember, my perspective is that of someone who grew up in hurricane territory and who lived through megaseason last year... I already want to be as far away from them as possible. If I had just been taken off my roof in a basket by a helicopter, I would want to be in Kansas, Mama! No, life isn't always about what I want, but at the same time the counselor in me thinks we should be as concerned with these people's emotional health as we are with their physical health. Why else would someone jump off the ledge of the Super Dome and kill himself? Not because he was perfectly physically safe inside the Dome!
12:52 P.M. - Governor Blanco: We will rebuild.
My response to this probably seems pretty calloused. I know that a lot of people in this country have an emotional attachment to New Orleans because it's part of history. I had a discussion with aglarendis last night that on the surface is a bit unrelated but in the big picture is very relevant. We talked about attachment to things and memories associated with particular objects... She was saying that if you lose a specific object, you can never get back the memories you have with the object. No, you can't, but the object isn't required in order to have the memories... Some people find it more difficult to remember things without using something to facilitate memories; but we also live in a society where memory for memory's sake is not often cultivated. We let it lapse because obtaining and holding onto material things is so easy.
Last year, when Ivan was on the way, my roommates and I believed that when we returned we would have no home and no possessions. Ivan was at that time tracked to landfall south of Tampa and move north through the area as a category 4 or 5 storm. I shipped out my three large electronics (all I could afford at the time) and packed all three of my suitcases to the brim with what they could hold. I had to assume that anything left would be lost. No matter how much I loved my things, I had to prioritize. If it could never be replaced and it was something I could access, it went with me. Many of my tapes had been transferred to digital media and were stored on my hard drive, so I gambled and didn't pack the originals (many made when I was a little girl). I now have an external hard drive that travels with the laptop for this purpose. Books and figurines got left behind... Most of my clothing got left behind. You learn what matters when you face the loss of your home. For a lot of people from New Orleans, they don't even have three bags and their cats.
So why are we talking about rebuilding New Orleans? To me, that's like saying I'll go back to Tampa and say to the storms, "Come on, hit me again!" It's asking for another major loss--not just of revenue but of life and health. I think it's very irresponsible of us as a society. I'm sure some people will be glad that I'm not in charge. So am I, to be honest. I think it's very sad that people are so attached to an object and a place that they would gamble life on it. We have to live somewhere, but this is a big country and there are a gazillion other places to live and work. Maybe they're less "beautiful," histooric in different ways, present different natural dangers (because there are no completely safe places). But how wise is it to live under the sea when the sea wants to rage?
That's sweet... Now will some Dallas apartments wave their first month's rent and deposits?
Again, I didn't at all mean to be brash here, and I'm afraid my tone was very brash. I really do think it's sweet that the schools are accommodating the kids. I hope that some kind of accommodations will be made for the families to live as well--the kids can't exactly ride the bus from the Astro Dome to Dallas every day, and the Astro Dome is really no place to live. These people need a place with a shower and a bed and at least a curtain to change clothes behind... If they somehow manage to get a job and start accumulating some belongings, they need a place to keep them without fear of losing them...
*GULP* There go the cab fares and heat bills... And there *DOESN"T* go up my fixed income.
I was pretty scared to post this one. I've read some comments from people condemning others for talking about feeling inconvenienced by Katrina, and I feel pretty guilty saying this at all. But living on $569/month is no picnic, and it makes me shudder to think what these gas prices will do to transportation costs and to know that "welfare programs" (particularly Social Security and Medicaid, which directly impact me as a person with disabilities whom no one wants to hire or insure adequately) will be cut in order to cover costs related to the aftermath of Katrina. I won't be getting any help with life, and my life is being indirectly impacted. My family won't be able to help me much--for one thing, rising gas costs directly impact them, and they don't get a cost of living increase either. I'll stay home more, and their tensions will mount more, and we'll all yell at each other more. God, please help us--and I'm quite serious.