[You will find the EZLN and other zapatista translations in the Library. I shall also be tucking the odd treat hither and yon. Hither, in the Parlour, and yon, in our Library]
Not a good day for so many people, mostly, as ever, for those with minimal resources.
Thirty percent of the population of New Orleans apparently falls below federal poverty “guidelines” [and I assume there’s a cut-off line below which one cannot fall without falling out of the guidelines and, thus, the headcount]. And I imagine it’s even higher in those parishes to the east of the city and into Mississippi where the brunt was borne.
Meaning that those people who didn’t evacuate were unable to do so. Yes, I know this. In Savannah, just a few years ago. I also had no car and minimal funds, no family to come fetch me, when the same scenario presented. A category 5 heading for a direct hit, the city built on swampland, old wooden structures and a mandatory evacuation order.
But luckily I had a wonderful girlfriend who loaded me into her van along with her 4 children, a dog or two and, as I recall, several days worth of drinking water and cosmetics. And lots of food for the children.
This was, of course, after I had, as per local instructions, placed my computer in the bath tub.
Six hours on a highway, sun blazing, both temperature and humidity in the high 90s. Four miles traveled in that six hours. We all, everyone in those thousands of cars, assumed that the hurricane would find us there, waiting, oddly calm.
But by nightfall we finally made it to one of those gigantic truck stops, full of cars and confused refugees, no one knowing what they should be doing, what was going to happen. There were lamps, I remember, but very high up, creating a cloud of light and leaving the ground, and everything around us, in dark.
Beyond surreal, it was as if we’d made the wrong turn and ended up in a George Romero Night. Now, I’ll grant you that living in Savannah for a while does tend to make one a tad more vulnerable to certain forms of non-linear constructs. I had even taken to sipping sweet tea and casting mildly ironic spells with my girlfriends.
But this Night was fearsome. It could have been the last place on earth - an isolated unknown space, black with a total lack of resonance, absolutely silent. And still that sense of impending, or realized, doom.
And then one of those kind-faced, brown-haired, southern women was knocking on a window of our van. Accompanied by an equally benign gentlemen. They had somehow picked us out of the thousands of cars to offer us shelter in their church, just a ways down a road.
And so we slept on cool pews, out of the tropical swelter, and they fed us and many others. Sheltering us from the storm, which made a right turn, and from the Romero Night, which is probably still there, somewhere.
Savannah surprised me and taught me much about untrue truths and how to look with my eyes instead of my head. I found much less ignorance, less racism, less hate [though a fair amount of sugar-coated bitchiness, but I’ll take that over the former] than in Washington, New York or, most especially and most viciously, in southern California, which is, most probably, the actual incarnation of the Night of the Living Dead.
But with sunshine.