We still don’t have power — in fact, it could be take as long as until Sunday to get it back. So I’m the rounds of free/cheap things to do in Tuscaloosa. The coffee shops have already taken a lot of my money, and now I’m parked in the visitors deck on campus, which will cost me $3 to get out of. It’s not the ideal, but well, it could be a lot worse.
Oh, and they cut off our gas, too, so we don’t have hot water either.
It’s kind of an adventure for Lydia and I, really. I mean, we’d rather have power any day (talk about realizing how spoiled we are..). But we’re making the best of it.
Tuesday night, Lydia’s boyfriend Michael came over. (His building is the only one in his complex without electricity, and he lives on the third floor, so his place was even hotter than ours!) We grabbed the bottle of champagne we had in the fridge and the three of us spent the evening sitting on the front porch with the cat and dog. We talked about playing Uno, but never got around to it.
The sleeping part wasn’t as much fun, though. It’s always harder to get to sleep when you’re sticky. But we survived. We would have slept in the front yard — it was much cooler out there! — if it were safe, but we don’t think it is… especially after watching this car circle our block roughly eight times. Sketchy?
Work was luxurious yesterday — which is pretty bad, given how much I like my job. 🙂 But it was nice to have A/C, my phone charger and internet. Yeah. I’m pretty much a big baby. I had PB&J from work for lunch, then Lydia, Michael and I went out for dinner.
Michael had to go home and sleep in the heat, because Lydia and I crashed at her sister’s SORORITY HOUSE! How funny is that? But it was so nice. We had beds, and A/C, and they provided us with towels, and the water in the shower was SO hot that I couldn’t even turn it to the strongest setting.
Through all of this, we realize how completely blessed we are. And how undeserving. Lydia had to interview evacuees (is that a word?) at the shelter on campus yesterday, and some of the stories she told me were heartbreaking.
Then today I was at Crimson eating breakfast when I started talking to the random guy trying to connect to the internet behind me. Turns out he and his buddies are from NOLA, so they were telling me all they had lost. (And it was a lot.) Somehow he finds out that I work at the newspaper, and he’s a photographer, so I set him up with our photo editor’s contact info. He’s looking to find a job and settle here, if he can.
As I drove away, I almost lost it. I mean, I’ve watched the news, I read yesterday’s New York Times — I know the stories are out there. But putting a FACE on it is what gets to me. That takes it from the “Wow, what a tragedy” level to “Holy crap, that man has no where to live and even though he’s got 35 years of experience, he has no one to pay him. He is going to move his entire life and rebuild in this little town because it’s the place where he ended up during the storm.”
Why does this city get destroyed and I’m so well cared for? (Well, because they’re on the coast and below sea level and I’m not… but that’s not what I mean and you know it.) I’m sure that’s a question we’re all asking ourselves right now. My thoughts aren’t anything different or profound. But somehow writing them down seems to be the thing to do.
But I’ll admit, I’m still really looking forward to having electricity.