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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Hurricane Fatigue, Part 16,001

This is a topic I find myself revisiting from time to time, though whether it's because I suffer from a form of this or because it's so intrinsic to living in my area these days, I don't know. For two years, ever since Hurricane Ivan in 2004, we've been constantly hearing about hurricanes and their dangers and the devastation they leave behind, and this only worsened with Hurricane Katrina. Combined with our first-hand experiences and the vastly increased coverage of hurricanes in general since Katrina, this has only worsened over time. Where in the past, the news media would reduce or halt coverage of hurricanes once the season was over, allowing people to recover emotionally from the past season, the opposite has been true since Katrina. It seems that every time you turn on the Weather Channel, CNN, or any of the local stations along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, they have to have at least a token story about hurricanes. Leading into this season, the local stations even reminded people that hurricane season officially started in one month, or two months, or four months, or whatever it happened to be at the time, and since June 1, the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, they've been even more insufferable. I can only ascribe this to a desperation to improve their ratings, no matter the cost to their respective communities. In this respect, at least, Fox News has been far superior to CNN, since they have focused more on terrorism and kissing Bush's ass, and for their lack of monomaniacal focus on the tropics, I thank them. With the exception of those who are new to my area and the areas affected by Katrina, Rita, Dennis, or any of a number of other monsters last year, you already know what to expect and what to do, and what the consequences are for failing to do what you need to do. I stopped watching local news as a general rule months ago, but still, I do happen to be in the room when it's on from time to time, and I can't escape it.

This brings me to the first named storm of the season, Tropical Storm Alberto. To the untrained or inexperienced eye, the satellite photos show a storm that may appear very disorganized. If this is your impression of this storm, you're absolutely right. If you see the term "tropical storm" and the projections that this will be the strength at landfall and start to feel bad for the people of Florida, then congratulations, you're an idiot. I know someone in one of the areas likely to be affected by Tropical Storm Alberto, and she's looking forward to the rain. Some areas of the Florida peninsula have had as little as 1/3 of the normal annual rainfall to date. Assuming this makes landfall as a tropical storm, a likely scenario considering its lack of organization and no signs of it strengthening, this will be a thunderstorm, and not even a particularly nasty one, and will be just what the doctor ordered for that area.

I'm just tired. Tired of being scared half of the year while being reminded of the source of my fear the other half of the year by speaking rectums on the news, and tired of wondering, "Will this be the year?" I'm tired of eating antacids like candy, and popping over the counter pain relievers like it's going out of style, and trying my damnedest to feel something other than fear gnawing at my gut. I'm tired of the constant anxiety that's sucking away the joy I take from life. I'm tired of seeing those I care about lose a lot of their most precious belongings. I guess it would be more accurate to just say that I'm tired of this shit. So on that note, I wish everyone a happy, safe, and above all else, boring hurricane season, though the experts have ruled the last bit out.

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