Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Another devastating hurricane on the way

Hurricane Rita is headed for the Texas coast. Galveston is getting the most attention, due to the death toll from the 1900 hurricane. There are other reasons for worry, though: much of Galveston Island could be flooded, and significant portions of Interstate 45 on the mainland side could also be submerged, leaving Galveston stranded in a ghoulishly Katrina-like fashion. Like the people of New Orleans, the citizens of Galveston have known for decades that they were playing a game of chicken with the next major hurricane. Thankfully, they seem to be taking the evacuation order seriously, and the resources are being deployed to enable them to evacuate, because even in Texas, not everyone has an SUV.

My own father is currently in a hospital on the Texas coast, about 40 miles inland, between Galveston and Corpus Christi, right in the middle of the predicted path for Rita. The hospital has prepared evacuation plans, since the entire county may fall under a mandatory evacuation.

When I was a boy, my mother picked me and my brother up from school in Houston one day and drove us down to the beach in Galveston. She wanted to show us the awesome power of an approaching hurricane. It wasn't Hurricane Camille, but in fact it was after Camille. Even with a much smaller hurricane, and even with the center still far out from shore, the wind and rain were impressive. So was getting stuck in an intersection that was already flooded up to the level of the engine block of our car, especially since no one else knew we were in Galveston. Somehow, we made it back to Houston, but there is no doubt in my mind that the trauma of that experience is what turned me gay.