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Hurricane Sandy: Ah Trini speaks

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November 1, 2012 by Fensic

October 29th 2012.

De current went right at 7.00 pm.

Ah know dat because Desha of CTNT World did now say, ‘good evening Trinidad and Tobago’, and mih phone did ring. As soon as ah answer, de lights went orf. Mih jaw was done ban fuh ah long night doh. Sandy was supposed tuh hit land between 5.00 pm an’ 10 dey did say. Ah tink dat span was fuh all ah she tuh reach on shore.

Yes, ah torkin’ about Hurricane Sandy. Doh go wid my callin’ Sandy ah ‘she’ eh. I did know ah Sandy once an’ dat was ah woman so tuh me all Sandy is woman. Now dat it have man hurricane, de naming committee does alternate: man, woman, man woman. Or if yuh prefer: woman, man, woman, man.

Is almost 9.00 o’clock now.

In certain ways, ah back tuh bein’ ah lil boy in Triniland when ah next hurricane parse. De year was 1963 an’ she was Flora. All ah could remember when she brush parse Trinidad an’ slap Tobago was de rain. Sheets an’ sheets ah rain. So much rain was fallin’ yuh couldn’t make out nuttin too clear. As de wind make de sheets dance, what yuh was lookin’ at changed shape. Ah remember watchin’ de pavement an’ road undulatin’. Was candle an’ lamp dat night.

Now all dese years later ah next hurricane chase mih dong an’ plantin’ memories fuh ah next 60 years.  Fuh dis one is only candle. Why, is ah long story. Just accept dat ah bounce mih head an’ wasn’t prepared well.

Is ah good 50 plus people Sandy kill when she lash Jamaica, Cuba an’ de Bahamas an’ come tuh look fuh mih. Ah know she dangerous buh I eh run. Ah right here in dis house wid no current. Let she find which one.

Ever since larse week dey torkin’ about Sandy hittin’, buh dey eh mention me. Over de weekend, de tork geh real dotish tuh me. All kind ah expert givin’ predictions: how long Sandy go hang arong, (18 hours one say); how much damage she go cause, (I eh even want tuh guess how much billion ah next know-it-all say); how much trees go fall dong, (hundreds of thousands dat one say); how long people go be widout current, (up tuh 2 weeks anudder one say), orn an’ orn. How dem people does know dese tings? Is guess dey does guess? Yeah ah know it have computer models an’ all dat buh two weeks widout electricity? Dat expert arse better be wrong oui.

Anybody who believe dotishness is reserved fuh people on ah island in de Caribbean eh really step orf dat island nah. De governors of two states Sandy was lookin’ tuh mash up tellin’ people tuh evacuate low-lying areas dat does flood quick. Dey tellin’ dem doh be stupid an’ put udder people life at risk if dey stay. Cause when tings turn sour, dey go want tuh say dey sorry an’ start bawlin’ fuh help. Yuh tink dem people take dem orn? Steups.

Me? Ah listenin’ tuh how dey does handle potential disasters here. Is like every 15 minutes ah governor or ah mayor or somebody on de radio, an’ TV ah assume, providin’ updated information. Dey explainin’ de latest weather reports; dey tellin’ where shelters is; dey updatin’ which road, which bridge gettin’ close dong, when; dey tellin’ dis, dey tellin’ dat. Information, information an’ more information. Dey tellin’ people tuh evacuate. Ah done say where dat plea went.

Oh one ting. Apparently dey wasn’t tryin’ tuh force people tuh leave dey home so it didn’t have ah, ‘or we go arrest yuh dotish arse’, at de end of de order. Ah didn’t know obeyin’ ah order could be voluntary. Den dis evening when Sandy reach, is more updates about where floodin’; what time people had tuh be orf de roads. An’ again, dey beggin’ people tuh leave, tellin’ dem is dey larse chance.

See me? Ah not in dat. I tell yuh nice yuh have tuh leave an’ yuh eh take me orn? I gorn ‘bout mih business an’ yuh better not be calling 911 an’ say yuh stranded. Ah tellin’ 911 tuh tell yuh dat now is we turn an’ go come fuh yuh when we ready.

Just before night reach de place quiet. De whole sky is nuttin buh greyish darkish clouds. It eh rainin’ buh de wind pickin’ up. Is ah strange feelin’. I waitin’. I eh know what go happen buh I huggin’ mih stock ah water, candles an’ matches. Ah not sure I go know when what ah waitin’ for reach. I was in plenty wind before an’ dat was no hurricane. Ah was in rain before, rain like peas even, but eef ‘big people’ didn’t tell mih, I would ah never know was ah hurricane. Dis hurricane go say, ‘ah reach’?

Den de damn lights went. Ah sure T&TEC does do better dan dat.

Anyway, ah find out how yuh know when ah hurricane reach.

Up tuh now no rain eh really fall, knock on wood. But de wind. Lord de wind. I never hear no wind like dat before nah. At one time, it sound like de house next door was gettin’ ripped apart. De wind blowin’ strong strong an’ anyting it cyatch, it pushin’ aside or sendin’ it flyin’. De house too? Den tuh make sure I eh geh comfortable wid how hard it blowin’ it showin’ orf how it could blow harder easy. Gustin’ dey call it? It was gustin’ wid gusto. Reminds me ah dat boy when he would tell he friend, ‘yuh tink dat was hard? Watch dis’.

I wanted tuh look outside buh it had tings flyin’. Nobody eh readin’ no story starrin’ me. I eh go be de dotish man who leave de safety ah he place tuh watch wind he cyar see an’ end up eh seein’ de galvanize dat fly an’ cut he head orf.

Me eh know what go happen between now an’ de mornin’. Ah eh tink Sandy go parse an’ eh drop one set ah rain in we tail. Ah hopin’ not, cause me eh want tuh go tuh no shelter wid greasy people who eh bade fuh de whole weekend. Wait! Dat is me. Ah guess den de question is will de emergency shelter take me?

Nah nah, ah still not go try. Me eh want tuh walk no mile in no dark in no rain tuh no shelter. Ah go have tuh take mih Apple wid mih an’ ah go have tuh hug it up in mih cot so nobody eh try tuh tief it. Ah prefer mih own place, thank-you-very-much. Doh worry, ah seein’ it. I dotish like dem people who refuse tuh evacuate, ent?

Shhhhhh. Sandy gorn or what?

It quiet quiet.

De only sound besides de sirens is dis constant drippin’. Like water dripping’ on someting metal an’ every drop is ‘ping’. Is like 5 ping every two seconds since what, 7-ish? Besides dat, is silence. Dat could mean Sandy eye parsin’. If so, when de wind start back, it go be comin’ at we from de opposite direction. Ah remember dat from school.

Buh ah guess is one ting ah really want tuh comment on about Sandy an’ what she represents. That is de unbelievable power of nature. Maybe I now comin’ tuh see dat power first hand. Ah know about it, ah see it on TV, ah read about it, people who experience it tell mih about it. None ah dat eh as profound as when I experience it up close an’ personal. It bringin’ ah new respect tuh de awesomeness of dis lil place in de sky all ah we does call home. It remindin’ me how minute we really is. It does make me smile at all dem who does bluster wid self-importance. Dat or I does try an’ ignore dem. Simply put, at de end of de day, none ah we eh in charge ah nuttin dat cyar geh wiped away just like dat, (snapping fingers).

Sure, caca go continue tuh happen an’ I fuh one go forget who not in charge an’ I go be arguin’ wid pretenders. Dat eh all bad as long as I remember dat what I tink, what anybody else tink, doh matter, when ah ‘Sandy parsing’. Dat eh just ah reminder fuh one person but all ah we.

By de way, de wind start back up wid plenty gusto. It rainin’ too.


Two nights later:

Right now ah in de same place ah was when ah start two nights ago durin’ Sandy. Ah on de same chair wid de same two candles typin’ on de same computer. No current still.

Is apparent dat Hurricane Sandy was ah monster dat beat up mostly everybody it find an’ den take orf tuh go die. Left behind is one set ah bazodee people tryin’ tuh figger out what hit dem and how tuh recover.

So I really shouldn’t be spendin’ much time detailin’ mih own experiences when so many udder people experiences so very different dan mines. An’ not different in ah good way unfortunately. Is dem stories dat tell just how bard dis hurricane was. But at de same time, ah cyar tell nobody else story.

Yesterday ah ventured out on ah macco tour tuh see eef ah recognize de neighborhood. Besides one or two tings, by me come through Sandy in decent tuh very good shape. It had places where water pumps was pumpin’ away tuh get water out ah basements. It also had ah place where half ah roof on ah 5 (?) story buildin’ get ripped off an’ fall on ah SUV, mashin’ it up. All kind ah satellite dishes an’ big pieces ah wood an’ tile an’ whatnot in de road. Dat was de worse I see.

Ah couldn’t find out what happen outside mih area as mih cellphone reception was spotty and no current equal no radio or TV. Doh act too high an’ mighty wid yuh latest cellphone eh as in disasters, dey could be next tuh useless. Ah did know dat since de earthquake dat put de fear of God in mih larse year. Was de most frightened ah could remember being recently. Ah in ah tall buildin’ an’ earthquake have it swayin’. I was dong dem steps an’ out de place so farse it wasn’t funny. Outside, ah couldn’t make no calls cause 9 million people was calling dey family. Now wid Sandy same ting buh dis time because cell phone towers dong all over de place.

Today mih big goal was tuh get batteries charged an’ buy ah radio dat does wuk orf batteries. Ah leave early wid mih half dead cell phone and almost dead computer in mih backpack an’ start walkin’. I eh know where as was goin’ buh ah wid ah know when ah reach it. Ah walk an’ walk an’ walk. It had areas where nuttin was different from before Sandy hit. People liming as usual, traffic de usual mess. Next ting ah know, ah back in mih own neighborhood. It was de main road an’ all de stores had current. Ah would ah save all dat walkin’ eef ah did start out dey first. Was in one ah dem stores dat ah start seeing pictures of how bad Sandy was. Dat one neighborhood where over 100 house bun dong. Ah could see de grief an’ pain on so many ah dem people faces. I could feel fuh dem. Dey put everythin’ in dey house an’ Sandy just take it all away. Ah see ah next picture wid dis one car dat look like it was tryin’ tuh jump ah fence. Half on one side an’ de next half on de udder side.

I tink ah could wait fuh mih current.  I eh go lie though, ah does still walk in a room an’ turn orn de light switch. When someting yuh used to gorn, it hard tuh readjust.

In dis big grocery store ah see all dese people standin’ arong. Dat cyatch mih eye. Ah go closer an’ notice is charge dey chargin’ cell phones. I go in de store an’ ask dem eef I could use dey outlets inside de store. One worker tell mih yes so ah plug in de cell phone. Buh ah borse boof up de worker an’ dey throw mih out dey grocery store. Okay dey tell mih tuh charge muh phone outside. Not in de front wid dem udder people as dem dey run. Outside outside.

Ah good fuh now. I eh want no more hurricane exposure. Ah have Flora an’ Sandy tuh remember. De rain wid one, all dat wind wid de next one. Plus de knowledge dat all dat wind spare where I is buh totally wipe out udder places an’ even cause some places tuh get bun dong.

Tonight I go say ah prayer in mih own bed in mih own place in de dark wid no heat fuh dem who homes an’ families Sandy mashup and fuh dem who pay de ultimate price. Here and in de Caribbean.

Is those stories dat have tuh be told.

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