The neighborhood where I live.
I woke up on August 28th shook. I work, live, and play in Houston and as of right now, the city, the place that gives me life, is Bikini Bottom thanks to Hurricane Harvey. I love humor and a bit of sarcasm. It gets me through life. I made Harvey a joking matter, thinking that it wasn’t going to be that big of a deal. I mean this is Houston – it floods pretty often, and within two days the city is good, and traffic is back to normal. But no, not with Harvey, this beast was something that is absolutely beyond Houstonians understanding. What in the hell kind of natural disaster is this? The memes and jokes for the first 24 hours provided comfort, like food. We sat in, ate, watched social media, distracted ourselves with the Floyd and McGregor fight while drinking bottles of wine (yes, bottles). We felt safe and content in our homes and prepared quietly expecting a mediocre storm.
Then it started, the winds, the rain, and it didn’t stop. It.did.not.stop! This is not the usual Houston rain. Houston’s usual rain only last for about 15 minutes, and it is very selective. The rain decides which areas deserve attention. But with Harvey, there was no selection. The entire city got it. And it lasted longer than 15 minutes. It lasted days. No sun, only rain, no relief in sight. The humor left, the sarcasm went away, 'I’m with the shits set in', and as it did my attitude changed.
I’m usually interested in hearing dialog from non- Houstonian's perspective however on August 28th I wasn’t with it. The only conversation I wanted to hear was from those who were affected by the storm. I wanted to know if they were okay and if we would be okay. I admit, my family is lucky that our house sits on a slight hill. Things looked to be fine at the moment however we were nervous. The rain kept coming, and four blocks over our neighbor’s houses were flooded. Less than a mile away the route to the grocery store adjacent to the beautiful golf course across from spectacular homes was now a lake. We listened to the engines of the boats traveling through searching and rescuing people. It was scary. No humor could be found, no sarcasm nearby.
Exit leaving our neighborhood going towards Houston downtown
On August 28th, I was not up to hearing people’s thoughts about what Houstonians should’ve done. Why didn’t we evacuate? Why didn’t we leave? These were the questions that I found on my timeline and in a group chat. I didn’t want to see it nor did I want to participate in it. My city is hurting, and people are blaming those who love it for sticking around meanwhile they’re dry and 200 miles away. Other people on social media was claiming that flooding was what Texas deserves because it is a “red” state. As if the entire city of Houston voted for Trump and even though some people did – so fucking what – we’re human, we matter.
Was I salty about all of this bullshit that was being said? Hell yes! And you would be too if your community surroundings are submerged in water. People are hurting, dead, and at a lost. This is not the time to say dumb things. I am not the only person who felt this way. I know this for a fact. I found unity with other strangers who love Houston. They responded with stories about evacuating when Hurricane Rita touched down, and they told stories about waiting in traffic for 16-24 hours. People died trying to leave, meanwhile, their homes were left untouched by Rita.
The people of Houston are resilient. This is not our first but hopefully the last horrific natural disaster we experience in our lifetime living in Houston. We will rebuild, and the most uplifting thing about this experience is seeing the compassion, love, and unity that has been missing due to political association.