The Process is the Party: Preparing for Hurricane Harvey as My Dad

This evening, Hurricane Harvey will hit land and is anticipated to develop into a Category 3 hurricane.

For residents of Texas, Louisiana and Mexico, it’s kind of freaky. For those in coastal cities such as Corpus Christi and Rockport, Texas, mandatory evacuations have been issued.

Having grown up in Houston, there have been several occasions in which we evacuated our suburban house and inched our way in snail-pace traffic toward family members who lived in other TX cities safe from the storm. I recall as we evacuated to Del Rio, Texas before the onslaught of Hurricane Ike in 2008, a little girl walking from vehicle to vehicle in the standstill traffic, asking people for water for a turtle she was clutching.

My dad always stayed behind when we evacuated, as it was his obligation as an employee of The Methodist Hospital to be “on call.” As Senior Editor, it was his responsibility to provide coverage and press releases on behalf of the hospital, and report from the epicenter of the storm in downtown Houston.

Retiring in 2016, this will be the first year my dad does not have to report downtown for work during the storm. With no press releases to prepare or writing to be done, he is in need of something to do, as well as some way to show how excited he is for this serious, yes, but also monumental event . . .

I mean, it’s been 9 years since Texas has seen a hurricane. My dad is chomping at the bit to track Hurricane Harvey, and shoot the shit about the storm with people in line behind him at Wal-Mart. He is that guy in the grocery store who is almost smirking at the empty water aisle, proud of his community for taking necessary precaution.

I’m not saying my dad is happy about impending doom or anything, but I do think he romanticizes storms because of the way it brings a community together, and also the guilt-free screwing around you get to do at home all weekend because of the unsafe driving conditions preventing you from being a productive member of society.

Essentially Hurricane Harvey, in all its realtime transformation, is my dad’s lifeblood right now. He’s even curated a hurricane playlist:

If you’re in an evacuation zone, be safe and take necessary precaution. If you’re in an area expecting torrential rainfall, hunker down and make sure to stock up on supplies. Once it hits, there’s not much more that can be done other than listening to the radio or TV reports until maybe your power goes out. In my dad’s case, he’ll be listening to his own hurricane playlist and thinking about all the hurricanes he’s lived through as a child in Beaumont, TX and then as an adult in Houston.

Hurricanes are tragic and serious but they create a common thread among humanity, and subsequently create stories. I think that’s why my dad is so excited about this weekend. So excited that he even changed his Facebook profile picture . . .

In retirement, my dad gets his thrills preparing for potential disaster. The party is in the process of playlist-making, supply-buying and profile picture-changing. Godspeed.

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