Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dispatch From Ike

I have lived in the Houston area for almost two decades and I have slowly become desensitized to those things called Hurricanes. Ike, however, was a big one though and we Houstonians don't like Ike. It actually made me very nervous days before it hit. But my family always stays. We stayed for Rita while others died on the road trying to get away from it. We have decided that if the government wasn't explicitly telling us to leave, we were staying. We weren't part of the evacuation orders and we were not going.

We lost a gate, accumulated a nice body of water in the back, have limbs and leaves all over the front yard and that is about it. But the surrounding area looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. Most stores remain closed and those that are open remind me of the old Soviet Union where the lines were long and the product choices were short. It isn't pretty. We were told to expect up to four weeks to get power restored . We lost ours around 2 am and it was back by 8.30 pm. It helps to live a block from a hospital. Millions, I am told, are still without power and we have a curfew that begins at 7 pm.

Still, there was an upside to the storm, especially on a personal level. I didn't lose anything, unlike the situation with Allison who took my home and car in 2001. But there is also the sense of community that comes from such a storm. Neighbors helping neighbors. People outside and talking to each other because it is more comfortable than being in the house. Parents spending more time with the kids and siblings actually playing together rather than video games, because electricity is out. It is all very nice and reminds me of the good old days that we all miss.

Then again, we couldn't be happier when we saw the truck from the power company come down the street. It was already pitch blank and we gave collective applause we saw that multi-light, crane connected, dream machine cruise down our street. Quickly we were on the quest for the remote and dying to get to the refrigerator that we needed to keep close all day because of our power problems. So much for simpler times! We did all enjoy fighting over the remote though. Together.

Kevin Price articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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