Cappuccino Refugee

September 14, 2005

I know! Scottfeldstein.net was down. There was this big storm, see? And everything went black. Candlelight is charming and all, but I soon realized that all our candles each have a lovely perfumed scent that, when lit six or seven at a time, is nothing short of asphyxiating. I had to hide out at Caribou. Not the one near my house, as the lights were out there, too; not the Starbucks in nearby Brookfield, as they had no power, either; I had to go to the Caribou way out on Highway 18 to find someplace with a working espresso machine.

“You want to really make my day?” I asked the barista. “Tell me you have wireless internet.” She frowned. I frowned. I took my cappuccino to a comfy chair and resigned myself to reading a book.

Not long after, I fell into a conversation with a young lady about my place of employment. “You work at Marquette? That’s my dream school!” she gushed. I talked to her about what she plans to study, where she goes to high school, and so on. When I asked her what attracted her to Marquette she didn’t even hesitate: “the public service opportunities.” This led us into a discussion about the many needs of those less fortunate than we.

A short time later I went back to my book, but I couldn’t focus on it: I was too ashamed. There were thousands of my fellow Americans sleeping in strange beds tonight (or no beds at all, perhaps) owing to hurricane Katrina. It took this high school kid to remind me of what I already knew: Caribou Coffee is not the Louisiana Superdome and cappuccino is not served in refugee camps. Not ten minutes earlier I had been at the counter ranting, to the amusement of all, about how it was “barbaric” that there was no internet service. “Darkness? No problem,” I said. “Cold cereal for dinner? Works for me. But take away my WiFi and I get cranky!”

But it didn’t seem so funny anymore.

I came home later and went to bed. The power was back on by morning. I’m lucky.


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  1. welllllll….a few thoughts on that last part.

    no matter where you live, there is some kind of logistical weather issue, and being the boy scout i am, be prepared comes to mind. i recall living in the seattle-metro area and being sent home because we were going to have some wind and i should tie everything down. while not a tornado, it was definitely not some wind, but SOME WIND and then some! i also recall when an earthquake just happened with no warning at all (earthquakes are funny that way).

    in WI, tornados are relatively common occurences during the summer months. granted, not as common as, say, kansas et al (i used to think this had something to do with the density of per capita trailer homes and flatness, but now i realize this is just the result of being downwind from WY…anyone who has driven east-west through WY knows exactly what i am talking about), but common enough, and everyone knows what corner of the basement to go into, to not worry about the fucking cat/dog, and to turn off the lights and monitor the radio.

    in my current home town, saturday and sunday during the winter i will be monitoring ODOT reports and scanners, and the hint of a possibility of an advisory will cause me to be driving towards boise so i do not miss my weekly flight out. i will also be making sure the pickup has tire chains, and I am contemplating a winch for the pickup (i could pull the one off the jeep, but i am not going to get into the habit of moving that winch back and forth), as well as some more snow recovery gear. be prepared.

    now on to the hurricane. hurricanes are not random events, at least not by the time they are anywhere even remotely close to our continent. they start as tropical depressions or storms off the coast of africa, they are charted, they are named, their progress is pretty much made known, and i find it highly unlikely that anyone along the gulf coast was not informed of katrina, the fact that it was a category 5 hurricane, and that it was heading their way. i mean, come on…hello? i do not even watch the news and i knew! everyday when i check my local weather on weather.com, the front page had a picture of katrina. i am not the most intelligent person on the planet, i do know that given several weeks warning that a cyclone of water with winds peaking above 100mph is coming my way, i would at the very least clampett-ize the pickup and get the fuck out of dodge (or, in this case, new orleans).

    hence, i do not feel the word victim is warranted here.

    that said, i would be willing to pitch in some cash and/or ammo to hunt down the morons who thought the levee on lake ponchartrain only needed to be adequate for a cat3 storm…new orleans is approximately six fucking feet below sea level!

    there are isolated instances. those folks left alone at the nursing home comes to mind. i don’t know who i am more pissed at: the workers who left them, or their families who only started caring about their status after the fucking storm!

    do i have compassion for the loss of homes, family heirlooms, etc? you betcha. damn straight i do. but anyone who willingly stayed there when a cat5 hurricane was bearing down on them? nope. anyone still there who started looting? nope (in fact, i don’t see any problem just shooting the looters on sight).

  2. I know what you mean… we were forced to come home from our camping trip because we were “flooded” out by a big storm.. when we got home, we heard about Katrina and I felt bad telling people how bad our trip was…

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