Home Commentary Op-ed OLÉ, JOSE



Well, Jose: no way! Ole, Jose! I've always liked the name Jose. It has such a nice ring to it. This is, definitely, my kind of storm.
It was yesterday that did the damage, damage to my already delicate nervous system. Although I think myself calloused, these days do still get to me. John in the coffee shop says he has all his boats in Virgin Gorda, where it's just been predicted to hit first.
"Oh no," says Judy, "it's going way south."
"Well, you've got it all wrong," says boatperson Howard, "I've been through enough of these and I should know – it's a direct hit coming right between St. Croix and St. Thomas at 8 o'clock tonight. And by then it'll be a category two."
And so on throughout the day. By then the most terrifying thing that has happened to me is trying to ease my auto onto the highway by Addelita Cancryn. The demolition derby is practicing up for the next few days without stop lights.
I finally make it to Pueblo, which is always terrifying in one way or another, the prices, the personnel, whatever. I do battle in the checkout line and find I have emerged with a few bananas which may ripen by next week, a wrinkled copy of People magazine (a hurricane indulgence), a dented frozen turkey roast, and some chocolate peanut butter cookies (ditto hurricane indulgence).
Girding myself for the very short but treacherous drive home, I turn on the radio. "It" is now working up to a category two, and destroying an island south of us, perhaps. There is actually no communication with that island. Oh, well. I am looking carefully for the "tropical wind gusts," previously announced to start about 3 p.m., but I make it home without incident.
I hide my shopping from my husband, except for the dented turkey roast. Where are the potatoes and cranberry sauce? I guess the bananas and cookies wouldn't do. Down to the corner store where the cranberry sauce costs more than the dented turkey, and a bargain at that, as it turns out.
Now, on to the serious business of "preparation." We live in a tiny wooden house in Frenchtown that requires little doing. It is a valiant, trustworthy and thoroughly wonderful home. But, it has its quirks. We board up most of these and move some of the outside, inside. To explain, the kitchen is outside. Or was.
Quite frankly, the major reason my nervous equipment is in such testy condition is the last 26 innings of the Mets and Braves. Right down to the last walk, yes walk, home. No subway series, alas.
After a perfectly awful dinner, I grab a book and go to bed with no solid idea whatever of where Jose is spending the night. I keep waking up to the sound of – nothing. About 5 a.m. I creep out to the kitchen and smugly make a pot of coffee and bring it into the house along with some crackers and peanut butter. Oversights of my husband's. But then, he doesn't drink coffee.
There's no news on the radio, whatever. A talk show, of all things. Back to my old, yellowed copy of "Our Man in Havana," which is just as funny as the first time, and a whole lot funnier than the radio.
I awaken again about 7:30, and peer out to view the damage. The floor mats I had bundled my little car up with are still in place, and so is the house, yard and kitchen. A walk down to the bayside reveals the unharmed boats stored in the ballfield, the usual suspects thankfully huddled in front of the grocery, and a damp, deserted and perfectly calm neighborhood with everything gleaming peacefully in its place.
Gracias, Jose.


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