Anticipate | The Good, The Bad & Hurricane Irma

IMG_0300NOTE: This post was written in response to the September 6th prompt from The Daily Post: Anticipate. 

I realize I’m late but wasn’t able to finish and publish the post before Hurricane Irma arrived.

Once the storm was over and the dust cleared we were without electricity and Wi-Fi for five days. I think that’s the longest I’ve gone without my computer! 

When I first read the prompt my immediate thought was of all things positive. Like a special event that we’ve been looking forward to or that cherished entrée at our favorite restaurant. 

According to dictionary.com when we anticipate something, we realize it beforehand; we foretaste or foresee it.

Speaking of taste, the noun anticipation always reminds me of the Carly Simon song and this classic Heinz Ketchup commercial from 1979. I graduated from high school that year and don’t remember much, but the fact that this commercial stayed with me makes it a prime example of effective brand marketing.

I’m not sure why the word anticipation evokes pleasant things in my mind, but it does.

However, anticipate/anticipation works both ways. It’s possible to anticipate something in a negative way like the results from a diagnostic test, or the sudden appearance of flashing lights in the rearview mirror. There are circumstances that arouse fear from the mere anticipation of them.

This is currently the case for many people regarding Hurricane Irma. Seeing the recent destruction in Texas was a grim reminder of the damage these storms can do. While the passage of time allows our memories to fade it hasn’t been two weeks since the last storm. To witness the video and images from the Caribbean this soon after Harvey has stirred feelings of panic for many.

I have family in Florida and am currently house sitting in the central part of the state… on a barrier island, no less. Watching this tropical storm develop into a monster Category 5 hurricane has created some major negative feelings of anticipation. 


Interestingly, my unease isn’t nearly as bad as it was last year when Hurricane Matthew came through. I was far away from storm surges and damaging winds.         

But, when you’re worried about loved ones there’s a certain level of comfort in being with them, even if that means being in potential danger yourself.    

With Matthew, I felt helpless to do anything. Being here now gives me the opportunity to do something.  And there’s always comfort in action.

I’m pretty sure this has to do with control. We always want and need to be in control. 

So, I’m preparing for one of two scenarios: to stay or evacuate. Each plan involves a separate list and there is some overlap. There are many details in securing the house, as well as making sure I have the necessary supplies for myself, my daughter, and four cats!   

I’ll be busy over the next couple of days exercising what little control I can. Once the storm arrives the anticipation phase is over. Hopefully, we’ll manage the actual events without the fear escalating too high!

It’s impossible to predict how things will go. I do anticipate that proper preparations and security measures will increase our chances for riding out the storm safely.  

Wish us luck!

The Daily Post: Anticipate


 

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Weekend Coffee Share: Charlottesville

Weekend Coffee ShareIf we were having coffee I’d want to tell you that I knew something bad was going to happen in Charlottesville this past weekend.

And I’m not referring to the usual vandalism and looting that often go along with protests and demonstrations.


The Friday night images of the “Unite the Right” demonstrators wielding torches evoked a distant memory. As they marched across the darkened UVA campus I was reminded of a scene from the 1931 movie Frankenstein.

Scene from Frankenstein movie (1931)-townspeople with torches

The townspeople in that story were on a mission to destroy a creature that they feared.

He had a kind and gentle nature but was “different” in appearance and behavior.

Based on these differences they made incorrect assumptions and treated him with hatred. Intimidated by his extremely large size and peculiar looks they labeled him a monster.

Eventually, he too became violent due to the hostility and maltreatment they had shown him. 

Without ever attempting to communicate and understand Frankenstein, they rejected him in the most contemptible way.


I think this is a part of prejudicial bigotry. It’s a fear of people and things that are unfamiliar or different. Without an earnest effort to discover why this fear exists there won’t be a conversation. And without a conversation, there won’t be a positive change.

Some of us grew up in homes that embraced diversity in all its forms. Everything from race and religion to clothing and food. We were taught tolerance and a healthy respect for other people and their cultures.

It was okay to be different. After all, the Declaration of Independence guarantees ALL human beings certain inalienable rights.

This doesn’t mean we have to agree with everyone else’s choice regarding lifestyle and belief system. As long as their rights don’t supersede yours and everyone enjoys equality; live and let live.

When we encountered other people or ideas that were different it evoked curiosity, not fear or suspicion. We learned the “do unto others” adage and applied it in everyday life.

Sadly, some of us were taught to fear anything that was contrary to our norms.

Those differences were immediately suspect and we were encouraged in our paranoia and sense of superiority. 

Rather than learn about and understand other races and religions, we turned a wary eye.  Acceptance of individuals outside our belief system would weaken our exclusive groups and mixed marriages would dilute our lineage, robbing us of our true identity. 


 But, what is our true identity?

Is it how we dress and talk? Is it defined by our facial features?

No, I believe it’s internal. Not determined by physical attributes, but rather by the content of one’s character as Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently stated. Our minds and hearts make up the intrinsic part of our identities. 

The external parts of our identity are things like our legal name, address, credit score, and the entire paper trail we’ve established since our birth certificates were issued. It’s our material goods and assets. It’s the shape of our noses and our ability to tan or burn without sunscreen.

Race

A person can suffer a terrible accident resulting in extensive disfigurement. Various types of cosmetic surgery can drastically change one’s appearance. Modifications to any part of our physical bodies can alter one’s looks and change the outward presentation.

But, it can’t change who we really are: our ideologies, beliefs, personalities, emotional intelligence, etc.

I would urge anyone who judges others based on skin color, religion, or life philosophy to make a concerted effort to get to know the person.

Let go of the fear associated with the unfamiliar. Educate yourself regarding other cultures, religions, and human beings. Learn and become familiar.

You might discover that the commonalities outnumber the differences. And the differences can actually enrich your life in ways you never dreamed possible.