Wednesday, 28 September 2016

We are about to batten down the hatches

because there is a super storm on the way. We have been warned to expect high winds, power outages, flooding and more. This morning's paper has a list of what and what not to do. Right.
I just went and put a load of washing on the line,
You see, at the moment we have blue sky and sunshine. I know it isn't going to last. There are other signs. I don't doubt the storm warning - or that we will see some wild weather. Right now though it might be possible to get some things almost dry before bringing them in and having the living area look like a Chinese laundry for the umpteenth time this year. 
I vaguely remember the storm of 1964 - the one this is supposed to be rivalling. We lived in a rural area, a dairying district. The farmer who owned the land next to the school had to put his cows on the school oval which was on slightly higher ground. The "flats" they grazed on had so much water on them it wasn't safe for anything else. We lost power of course - but it was less of an issue than it might have been because, like everyone else, we had a wood burning "slow combustion" stove - a bit like an Aga. My father sent the school buses home early and we all went to bed early as well. The following day it had blown out and the little ones came back to school full of tales of all the damage done. Some of the older students were still busy dealing with fallen trees and other damage.
A naval boat ran aground a short distance up the coast and there was doubtless much more damage elsewhere but we didn't know about it.
Now the news will, power permitting, be out there as it happens. It has made me aware of another problem. Some people won't get any news. They don't get a paper delivered. They won't have any power. At the present time it looks as if it is going to be a lovely day. There will be students who go off to school in nothing more than one of the standard school cotton-polyester tops. People will go to work dressed for this morning rather than taking precautions for this afternoon. 
There is an assumption about information now, an assumption that information is disseminated quickly and easily to everyone. There is an assumption that everyone is informed. There is an assumption that people will hear news and warnings and make the necessary arrangements, that they are connected to the internet and that they have mobile phones.
I have a friend who, since the loss of her husband earlier in the year, now lives alone. She came late to the event on Saturday, late because she had a flat tyre. She is frail and slight and had no hope of changing the tyre herself. She had just got herself out of her car to try and get some help - which meant getting her walker out as well - when someone came out of a nearby house and, seeing the situation, changed the tyre for her. When she eventually arrived she said to me, "It's time I got a mobile phone." I agreed. She needs one now. She won't always find some stranger so willing to help. People are more likely to pass her by now - on the assumption she has such a thing and can call on other help.
It makes me wonder what will happen when the power gets knocked out though. Is our reliance on such communication actually causing us to communicate less than we should?

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