I haven’t told this story before.
On Wednesday, September 10, 2008, I decided to cash in my birthday massage coupon – it being six months old already and all – and since we thought the third storm in a month was headed south of Galveston, I thought what the heck? And if it decided to come closer to us, we still had ‘til Friday to get out. We’re well rehearsed at this stuff, and I deserved an afternoon off.
About twenty minutes into some pretty intense deep tissue acupressure on my neck – a luxury strangely akin to putting your head in a meat press, I’m guessing – the room started spinning. I mean SPINNING like I was a pencil let loose beneath a twisted rubber band. I stopped my guy and truly thought I was having a stroke. He kept working on me gently for another half hour or so, but the room kept going and before long, it was clear I was sicker than I had ever been in my life, and in no condition to transport myself to the bathroom, let alone home.
Long story short – I got a ride back to the loft around 3:00 that afternoon, went to bed, and found one position I could lie in to stop the spinning. If I ventured off that spot even a couple of inches, everything started spinning again. (If you’ve had vertigo, you’re probably screaming at your screen right now. I’d never had it before, nor have I had it since. I can only assume the massage released a pocket of toxins in my neck that made a whirligig of me.) Anyhow, about 9:30 that night, I awoke to find my friends Carol and Joe in my living room, taking care of my pets, pulling in my balcony furniture, and pumping me full of Dramamine and Sprite. “If you’re not better by 8:30 in the morning,” they said as they left to go back to Houston, “we’ll be back to get you.” Hurricane Ike had put a bead on Galveston, and the island was evacuating. The Fates were center stage, in full regalia and taking charge. If I had ever had any control of my life, it was clear to me at that moment that I certainly did not anymore.
At 6:30 the next morning (September 11th – if that date means anything to you), I got a text from my weather friend that said simply, “Get out.” I felt like I had the worst-ever hangover, but I could walk, so I packed up my pets’ belongings and an overnight bag and left town. Like everyone else, I had every expectation that I would be home again by the weekend. I was gone from my home with one small suitcase and a lifetime supply of doggie treats… for 67 days.
And that’s how every aspect of my life changed irrevocably with no planning nor desire nor permission on my part. I now belong to a really big club where nobody wants to be a member. But that’s precisely the point. Everything has changed, and it’s not going to change back, so it is normal now. The New Normal.
In The New Normal, you will notice people making more conservative choices for their money and more courageous choices for their lives. You will see big decisions being made easily and small decisions being agonized over. You will note a distinct disregard for “The Joneses” and a willingness to share any and everything without judgment. (Frame of reference: Most of us in real estate haven’t made any money at all since August – a test, at worst, and depletion, at best, of that “six months of savings” we have all intended to stockpile.) But as Robert Fulghum said, “If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.”
It’s been 100 days already. One Hundred Days of Inconvenient Ike. With all the elements of Greek Drama – including a very vocal Chorus telling us how to think and feel — are we living a Tragedy or a Comedy?
My New Year’s Resolution for 2009 is to never use Hurricane Ike as an excuse or a reason for anything ever again. With this message, I personally want to issue a call to us all to bring friends and family and business back to the island today, not tomorrow. If you’re here, get busy! If you’re elsewhere, please come see us and refer us your business. Pass this message on to everyone you know and ask them to do the same. Like a kid who’s just suffered a humiliating haircut, tell us how good we’re looking, then buy us a hat. Together, we can do it. Together, we will do it!
I wish you health, harmony, and prosperity in the New Year, my friends. Thank you for all you do.
Copyright © 2009 Alice Melott