We're coming to the end of our third day without electricity. If you have to be without power, you couldn't ask for better weather to do it in. It's been about 75 in the daytime and in the upper 50's at night. We haven't even missed the power that much, except for the few moments of my cold water shower, which were among the most unpleasant moments of my adult life.
I find myself becoming annoyed with some of my fellow Broward citizens. The radio is full of residents complaining about FEMA and some apparent botching of water and ice deliveries yesterday. My reaction to that is: Hey, idiot! Had you done even a minimal amount of preparation, you wouldn't have anything to complain about. You were complaining about FEMA's inability to deliver water less than 24 hours after the hurricane left! With a major hurricane approaching and something like six days of notice, if you didn't have enough water to last you for a day, you deserve to pass out from dehydration. I'm no fan of federal agencies, but it's not FEMA's fault that you are too stupid to even stock up on two or three days worth of supplies after all the hurricane problems we've had in the last two years.
Ranting aside, I got out of my neighborhood for the first time today and explored some of our area trailer parks to check up on some folks from church we hadn't been able to reach by phone. The parks, as is usually the case in these storms, looked like war zones, though the people there mostly seemed positive and helpful. Noticably absent was the brittle tension of New Orleans in the days immediately following Katrina.
After getting a look around today, I realized how fortunate we were. Our house sustained very minimal damage and we have enough supplies to get us through the next week or two. We also filled up the cars with gas right before the storm hit. Today out on the road, I passed gas lines several miles long at the few open stations. I'm also told that the few open supermarkets are quite chaotic.
Fortunately we have a working phone line, and I've been able to jump on the Internet to gather information occasionally from my battery-powered laptop computer. Until yesterday, most people didn't even have working phone lines. I appreciate your prayers and expressions of concern. So far, we're in good shape. All of our church members are accounted for and well, though some sustained major damage.
It's overall very strange here right now. We are under a 7pm-7am curfew, and over 90% of the Broward County is still without electricity. Sitting out on my back patio at night, it's suprising how much it reminds me of Tanzania. It's absolutely dark, there are open flames in backyards all over the place where people are cooking dinner, and the stars are visible in the night sky in a way they never are here. It's downright pleasant--though my opinion will likely change when the temperatures begin to rise again this weekend.