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Hurricane Irma, Muse of the Moment

Well, my lady and I survived the pre-hurricane madness, long gas lines, depleted grocery stores, near-apoplectic news readers 🙂
Now, we’re hunkering down in Naples, Florida amidst enough supplies to restart civilization, got good books for when the power goes out & we have friendly, helpful neighbors. We may be better off now than before Irma appeared.

We’ll huddle in a candle-lit interior room away from windows with the cat & inevitable litter box while Irma blows past Sunday. Later, there’ll be no power. (Been here, done it) That’s when the neighbors will come out because without A/C, why not? People sharing a disaster are not shy. We all know exactly what’s on the other’s mind. “Good to see you. Are you OK? Need anything? Wow, look at this mess.”

Now is a time to observe human nature. The place will get cleaned up, people will return to their individual lives. But for the moment, we can relate to our neighbors, family and friends on a level of shared concern. It’s a teaching moment for writers.

In your own life, what event has been a teaching moment?


5 thoughts on “Hurricane Irma, Muse of the Moment

  1. In high school, I helped out in a math class taught by a former teacher. She talked to me about a ‘problem student’ – insolent, disrespectful, etc. She thought they had a personality clash and wanted me to help the student get back on track with her studies. I walked by the student, who was wearing sunglasses, a couple of times. Her left eye was black. After class that day, I explained to the teacher what I saw and asked her to give me a couple of weeks. She reported it to the guidance office, as she was required to do but didn’t say anything to the student. I did introduce myself to the student during that class and began tutoring her and another student after school. I had a candid conversation with the student and mentioned what I saw and asked her if there’s anything I can do. She explained that her brother had thrown a phone at her during an argument.

    When she came in with fresh bruises on her arms a few days later, I asked her if she’d mind if I had a chat with her parents before the school had to call. I gave her an overview of what I planned to say so that she wasn’t scared about it. I called after a tutoring session so that she knew exactly what I had said. When I called, her mother answered. We had a good chat. I told her that her daughter was exceptionally bright but that she was having trouble prioritizing her homework and paying attention in class. Her mother thought that she and her brother were going through some rivalry and mentioned they were arguing a lot. She said that he was extra irritable because he had started puberty. I mentioned to her that sometimes puberty wrecks havoc in numerous ways (depression, hormones, etc.) and suggested she take him to the doctor, if only to document that they were trying to resolve the situation. I cited my concern over social services potentially becoming involved given that her daughter was getting visibly injured on a regular basis.

    I was only a teenager myself at the time, but she listened to what I told her and followed through. Sure enough, her brother had developed a hormone disorder. After he started his medication, no more bruises or black eyes. At first, I thought he might be an a-hole who was bullying his little sister, but I learned that things aren’t always as they seem. I know my former teacher learned the same lesson from our mutual student. Turns out she wasn’t insolent or disrespectful, she was just trying to make it through her school day without other students picking on her, and she didn’t want to get her big brother in trouble. She was a kind, intelligent person and a loyal sister trying to make the best of a bad situation.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. mimispeike says:

    I can’t think of anything, GD. I’ll keep trying. I’ve been through many moments that I should have learned from, but didn’t. I’ve made the same mistakes (or nearly so) over and over again. Am I more competent at making good decisions than I was fifty years ago? I don’t think so. But now I have my wonderful husband. The smartest thing I ever did was recognize almost immediately what a wonderful man he is. And, though I wasn’t the least bit interested in another relationship, after plenty of super-dud boyfriends, I had such a good feeling about him that I took a chance.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Perry Palin says:

    When I had day jobs I mentored a handful of people who were in low level positions, had potential, but were unsure of themselves and needed understanding and encouragement. I am very proud of six who grew their skills, their confidence, and their value in the places we worked. Several became department heads. I didn’t work miracles with these people. I only opened doors and showed them how they and the organization would benefit if they would walk through.

    Then there was the egotistical, proud, “I’m never wrong” CEO and his similarly pain-in-the-ass top lieutenant. One of them said something and the other took offence, and neither would make the first move toward a reconciliation. I wore out a pair of shoes walking between their offices trying to mediate their silly personal dispute. I told them they were hurting the company and risking their careers. In the end, the Board of Directors fired them both, not because they were feuding, but because they were distracted from their jobs.

    Why do people act the way they do? I’ll never figure it out. I write stories about people, and I’m trying to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mimispeike says:

      I’m reading Prodigal Rake, an autobiography of one William Hickey. Around 1780, off the coast of India, a captain refused to have the depth sounded, so sure was he that he knew the waters in that area. Against informed advice that they were not in the area he imagined, he continued to forbid his crew to take a sounding of the depth. One man did, against orders, and found the error just in time. They were almost a shipwreck on rocks. Blind bull-head pride is a big factor.

      Great book. I found it at the Labor Day book sale. Written early nineteenth century, bequeathed and bequeathed in manuscript form. Finally published in the early twentieth century.

      Liked by 1 person

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