Saturday, July 22, 2006

After the Starm

Today is a lovely and sunny day and there is a breeze and the humidity is manageable and it is only in the 80's. But even now as we drive through the city it seems that more traffic lights are out than are on, houses and shops are dark and huge branches and even trees still lie on sidewalks and across streets. I missed the storm itself on Wednesday evening. I was driving back from Cape Girardeau where we had had a post General Convention session. All the way up 55 there was sheet lightening and regular lightening. No rain, not much thunder (or not that I could hear with windows shut and A/C on high.) Every now and then the radio would offer a warning about thunderstorms with high winds but since I didn't know what counties I was driving through or what counties were affected by the warning, I decided to just keep driving.I guess the storm must have passed through St Louis while the bishop and deputies were fielding questions about the difference between straining the bonds of affection or breaching the bonds of affection within the Anglican communion. But when I got up to St Louis Hills there were trees and branches down everywhere. The church and its new roof appear to have been unscathed and the big elm in our backyard, alarmingly large and close to the house, held up just fine as did the big tree in the Memorial Garden.
Less fortunate was the apartment building on Clifton on the other side of Nottingham from the church. Streets around the church look like this. Murdoch and Locke were both blocked until well into Thursday. St Mark's was spared when the power went out on Wednesday but Thursday night the lights flashed on and off and then went off altogether until Friday afternoon. Ironically, Friday afternoon there was a second big windstorm which caused even more people to lose power but our power came back shortly after it passed through the area.

Friday AM Anna and I went to the Bread Company with all the other orphans of the storm. According to the power company there were 10,000 people without service in our zip code and it seemed as if most of them were at the Bread Company. I was there from 8 to 9:30 during which time over 150 people were served (you had to take a number.) There was the kind of survivor cameraderie that I've experienced waiting for a ferry off Nantucket after a hurricaine or the kind I imagine people had in London during the blitz, when whole families would go down into the underground to wait out air raids. People were helping one another figure out the Panera free WiFi , passing on what they knew about who had power and who didn't, exchanging rumors about when the power would come on, etc. Those of us who were there to plug in our laptops and get our email shared tables and electrical outlets, no longer strangers but companions.

The incredible heat of last week made me crabby and lethargic and then the power went off. When I think of all the places in the world where people are living with disrupted electrcity, I realize how little patience I have and how dependent on technology (my cordless phone, my computer, my cell phone) I have become and how spoiled by air conditioning I am. I would not have lasted ten minutes in the aftermath of Katrina or in Beirut or in the parts of St Louis where the mayor does not live and which are still waiting for power to come back on.