The waiting is the hardest partTom Petty — “The Waiting”
Every day you get one more yard
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part
As I write this, there’s a hurricane named Ian out in the Atlantic approaching the Gulf of Mexico. It’s also ultimately headed to where we live, albeit as a strong tropical storm. Batten the hatches!
I actually started writing this about four days ago, when Ian was still in its nascent tropical storm form. But the Rosh Hashanah holidays interrupted my writing (and also reading — my apologies to fellow bloggers for missing recent posts). I found myself instead diverted to gorging on apples and honey and listening to shofars bellowing. Who wants to sour one’s new year’s merriment with meteorological misery? So I did what local emergency officials plead for the public not to do: I put blinders on and partied like it’s 5783.
But the now the festivities are over, and Ian has formed into a hurricane. These storms… they grow up so fast.
Florida governor, and now also Martha’s Vineyard tour operator, Ron DeSantis, has declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm’s landfall. The the storm’s precise path is still a bit in flux, but those pesky forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are using their fancy computer “spaghetti” models to show that it’s either going to go slightly to the west, slightly to the east, or probably right over where we live after it hits land on the Gulf side of the state near Tampa. When I say “slightly,” that can mean either 50, 100 hundred miles away, or maybe just one town over. None of those forecasters are willing to stick his/her neck out and be pinned down. Wimps.
Nevertheless it is always good to be prepared. Yesterday I went out and stocked up on some critical items that are recommended to have ahead of a storm, such as bottled water, canned food, and extra batteries. I suspect today I’ll pick up yet another case of water and probably a few additional cans of tuna or peaches. One can never have enough peaches. Or scratch lottery tickets too for that matter. Besides, it’s good to indirectly pay a little more into state coffers in case other migrants at the Texas border wish to visit Massachusetts. The good Florida governor is just doing his part in taking care of his constituents here.
But back to the storm: a sense of anxiety about it is slowly creeping in with each hour, as it always does when it happens this time of year. It becomes the first thing reported on at the top of all newscasts. The anxiety is also what you feel from others when going out in public, such as grocery stores. There’s a frenetic buzz from which no one can really escape, and it all becomes rather hard to avoid as the hours pass into days. Soon it’ll also start to become present in my late night thoughts as I lay in bed tossing and turning, especially when I make those seeming-hourly visits to answer the call of nature. If you’re male and under 40, snicker all you want, my friend, but that’s a situation to enjoy in your future as well.
For a little context, however, Florida hasn’t had a hurricane hit land since 2018. We’ve been quite fortunate this summer too because we managed to go a whole 60 days during June and July without a named storm in the Atlantic. None of that matters now, however. All of this is part of the unwritten social compact we have in order to live in a topical paradise: you accept that calamity might occur during the period between June through October. By the end of this weekend, Ian will be north of us. We just have no idea how much damage will occur during his visit.
So we wait.
If storms and hurricanes aren’t enough, there’s also the ever-depressing economic situation. Forecasters — this time the financial kind — all seem to be alerting us to an impending announcement about entering a recession. Recessions are when economists look at data from the most two recent quarters and see quantifiable evidence of a slowdown. It’s also when the policy makers in charge, who for the last six months have been playing violins even better than Nero, now have to backtrack and find creative ways to say “oopsie!” Perhaps like the rest of you, I log into my retirement savings accounts each week and have a good long cry. A year ago, I felt like A Tom Wolf-styled “Master of the Universe” with a savvy sense of optimism and a superior knowledge of all things monetary. We’re all experts when things are growing great, of course. Now I’m left staring at the calendar trying to guess when things might turn around. I’ve given up on the so-called “Santa Claus Christmas” stock market increase that sometimes happen in December. I’ll settle for an “Easter Bunny April” if it means my savings can return to something resembling what I had even in 2020.
So we wait.
Lest I leave you with doom, gloom, and melancholy, not all has been dark and stormy of late. We went for our most recent covid booster last week; Gorgeous got her flu shot at the same time and suffered no ill-effects afterwards from either. “Shetland” has returned on Britbox for what is sadly actor Douglas Henshall’s last season. We’ve watch two episodes so far and are enjoying it immensely. Also, even though I promised myself that starting this year and into next I would only read fiction books, I couldn’t help myself and bought Tina Brown’s “The Palace Papers” shortly after Queen Elizabeth’s death. It’s got it all: philanderers, cheaters, royal financial malfeasance, governmental intrigue, palace intrigue, the works. I’m enjoying it immensely and highly recommend.
Wherever you are, enjoy your fall. I hope your own waits are relaxing and stress-free.
Until next time…