This Week with The Chicowitz:
Last week: “Another Side of the Greatest Generation”
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Sunday, September 10, 11 p.m.
Age often provides one with perspective, wisdom, and good judgment.
Often, but not always.
Recognizing that, we nonetheless decided not to follow the advice of the state. As we write this, we are riding out the hurricane here at the compound at “ground zero” – Tampa, Florida.
If the electricity holds for a few more minutes, I’ll explain why.
This may oversimplify things, but there are two categories of residents here in the sunshine state. Zone A residents are those who live within eyesight of water; those who live in a mobile home (there’s a reason why they call them “mobile” homes); those who live in clapboard shacks; and those who are not equipped to “run for your lives,” should the need arise. In a state with a population of 20 million, that constitutes more than a few... maybe 3-5 million.
Then, there are the rest of us: Zone B residents... there are about 15 million of us. The compound here in Tampa is much like most homes built in the last 50 years in Tampa – concrete block, heavily secured roofs, and steel-reinforced garage doors. We’re 5 miles from the bay, and well above sea level.
(Admittedly, “well above” is a relative term. I think we are sitting at about 21 feet above sea level. Not very above, you might say. But compaare that, if you will, to most of the city of New Orleans.
We have a bathtub full of water. In early June, we started filling empty plastic bottles of Gatorade with water. At last count, we had over 75. (Some of that “wisdom, and good judgment” I mentioned above keeps us from standing outside a local Publix grocery store and offering them at five bucks a pop.)
Everybody wins with that strategy: Zone A residents, Home Depot, the media, the elected representatives...
Even the Mouse House is closing down... for only the fifth time in history. But they are closing down... not evacuating.
We believe that we are safer here than we would be on the interstate with 3 million people driving like godzilla was chasing them.
And yes, we have “faced a significant threat” more than once from idiots on the interstate.
There is no shortage of those in Florida, either.
I’d much rather be here where I can protect my property... and empty the freezer before all my drumsticks melt.
I acknowledge that this hurricane is unprecedented in our lifetime. But for some perspective and for your mature consideration, I offer my story on another storm of the century that Princess and I survived right here at the compound. Picture it; Tampa Bay, August, 2004:
I know... that was then; this is now. The video you see on TV is from Zone A. Those residents face a significant risk.
Out here in Zone B... we’re OK.
If I survive this one, I’ll tell you what happened in 2004, “after the storm.”
Don’t lost any sleep over it. The sequel is scheduled for September 25.
Though... if the hamsters live, and we have power Wednesday morning, I’ll post a short update right here.
Wednesday, Sept. 13 Update:
The Caribbean and the lower part of Florida took a hard hit, and softened the blow for the rest of us. Those in Zone A to the south of us need – and will get – tons of help.
Half way up the state, the hurricane dropped to a two and then a one.
For us, in Tampa’s Zone B, it was a calculated risk, though we believed a small one. The odds were in our favor, and we came out on top. We got some strong winds and heavy rain, but no flooding; we never lost power. Once again, the “experts” were wrong. The hurricane swerved east and passed over Lakeland, about 30 miles to the east.
We faced Charley eyeball to eyeball... and the other guy blinked. - Hershel M. Chicowitz, 8/04
Then Hurricane Irma blinked. - Tampa Bay Online, 9/11/17
Hershel will have something else to say on September 25. Mark your
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