Fanfare for the Common Man: Ice storms and earthquakes

  • Wednesday, February 19, 2014

There are a couple of givens about living in the Deep South. First, since we have palm trees, a beach and big alligators, we can presume we will have hot, muggy summers and mild temperate winters.

And it will not snow (or ice) in my front yard.

If it does snow (or ice) in the South it’s only supposed to do it once every three or four years, make the ground and the trees look all pretty, and be gone by noon the next day.

It is not supposed to do the following:

Cut off cable.

Cut off power, hence cutting off my heat.

Freeze my car shut.

Or break tree branches to fall across the roads, cars, and power lines that may result in a loop-back of the above three items.

I am a modern man.

I don’t aspire to be on Survivor.

I don’t dream about running around lost in the woods, surviving on grubs and ants, and building a lean-to with pine bows and a thatch of tree branches in order to survive the frosty night.

When I flip the light switch I expect light.

When I turn on the water faucet, I expect water, hot and cold at my leisure.

I want all 150 TV channels that offer nothing to watch.

And I don’t want to sit around in the dark for hours on end, my only light provided by a scented Yankee candles I chose not to give out last year as Christmas presents.

I was without power for more than 12 hours, and I know there are many of you out there that have endured much worse.

And yes, it goes without saying I am thankful for the power-company linemen that worked tirelessly through the dark and cold to give me my light and heat back.

My only source of food was a one-pound box of spaghetti, which I had to cook of course. Except for a few remaining hot chocolate packets, I had eaten all my emergency food rations during the last ice storm. I presumed that living in the South I would be inconvenienced until about noon the next day when I could chip the ice off my car and head back to the store to restock.

I had no clue it would last for three days.

Thursday was worse than Wednesday, and Friday proved the worst of all as we began to dig out from under all this frozen stuff.

The strangest thing of all though, occurred around 9:30 p.m. that Friday night.

I was lying on the couch lost in thought. My shirt was pulled up to my armpits, as you have to allow your tummy time to breathe every now and again.

Watching an Avengers movie, I sipped on a cup of lemonade and munched on Cheez-its crackers.

I looked down and my tummy rumbled.

But then something strange happened, the rest of the house rumbled a little bit with it.

I thought, “Whoa, that must’ve been one bad taco.”

Until I heard word about the earthquake the next morning, and it gave me pause to offer a commentary to my northern brethren: This is the South… where we endure tornadoes, hurricanes, snowstorms, and yes, earthquakes. Only in the South can we say this snowstorm caused the worst widespread damage we’ve seen weather-wise since Hurricane Hugo, and then sit through a 4.4 earthquake that evening — mild by earthquake standards, but an earthquake nonetheless.

Can you guys say that?

… crickets…

I didn’t think so.

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