Storm watch ‘23
Spent Sunday sitting in a chair with my dogs at my feet waiting for Hurricane Kohoutek to blast into Long Beach.
Was I prepared for a devastating hurricane? As it turned out, yes. I had enough of the essentials to see me and my family through several hours of rain, a little wind and a far-off earthquake.
Was the city prepared for a devastating hurricane? Its mayor Rex Richardson and Jake “Jeff” Heflin, the Community Emergency Response Team program manager, claimed Sunday in a fairly well hidden social media announcement that, yes, the city emerged triumphant over the downgraded Hurricane Hilary.
Still, it’s difficult to quantify the degree to which the city was prepared for a hurricane, since we never got hit by one, but we did manage to survive a bit more than 2.5 inches of rain, a type of weather event we’ve mastered before in our resilient and stalwart community.
Not to downplay whatever efforts the city made to withstand a hurricane that could bring more than 5 inches of rain and winds up to 60 mph, flooding houses and tossing trees around like stools in a bar fight, but it’s difficult to quantify Long Beach’s readiness for a hurricane when the hurricane never showed up, save for some rogue rain and enough wind for a pleasant day of kite-flying.
The only interesting thing in terms of natural disasters was a 5.1 earthquake in Ojai during the mid-afternoon, which felt like California expressing its jealousy by throwing in a quake to protest the national coverage given to the hurricane.
Anticipating calamity, I set out at noon Saturday to document the hurricane in a running thread on Threads, imagining it would be pretty dramatic, especially the part about the Barn’s roof being ripped off and flown into a neighbor’s house. Here, though, are some of my posts:
STORM WATCH ‘23: Noon: It’s quiet out there. Too quiet.
12:06: Rain, but nothing serious. We’ve survived worse.
3:30: Rain, no wind, so far just one earthquake.
5:50: Drizzling. No rain. No earthquakes.
Things weren’t turning out like almost everyone thought they would. The status never changed, as my chronicling of the event fizzled out.
Hannah and I took Jasper and Annie out for their nightly stroll at 10 p.m.
Drizzling. Light wind. No earthquakes.
What I’m reading now
On Saturday, while anxiously waiting for my hurricane thread to get terrifying, I was reading. You’re astounded that I could do both at the same time? I hope I’ve never given you the impression that I’m not always working. I finished reading Andre Dubus III’s “Such Kindness,” an elegantly written novel about Tom Lowe Jr., a man who’s living in Section 8 housing and hovering just a few inches above rock bottom after losing his house, his wife and sone and his ability to work as a contractor following a fall from a roof.
The sole bit of good news in his life: He’s kicked his addiction to opioids; the bad news is he’s taken up drinking the cheapest vodka he can find, which he euphemistically calls “pain distracter.”
So we follow his life as he seethes with resentment over various miseries made worse by some unfortunate events. Losing a bit of the already scant altitude, Lowe later experiences a few real and imagined acts of generosity by relative strangers and his epiphany which changes his outlook on “the hand he was dealt” turns to an appreciation, even a love, for his life.
What I’m watching now
I’ve been doing a fast-break streak of viewing HBO/Max’s “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.” It’s a behind-the-scenes (and somewhat enhanced) look at the Lakers in the 1980s, when they won five championships. It was also a decade in which I spent each year’s postseason in a crazed screaming mess as a dangerous hyper-fan of the team, and it’s an exciting series to watch, particularly for those of us who can’t remember which years they won it all, although I continue to cherish the fact that they beat the Celtics twice. Glorious, glorious years, but they took a lot out of me. And whatever was left, the 2000s polished off. I’m still a wreck.
“Winning Time,” now in its second season, is a fun series, though, especially when Magic is destroying the loathsome Larry Bird, who’s portrayed here by Sean Patrick Small, who the filmmakers probably had to hit with a shovel a few dozen times to get him to look and talk like Bird.