Hurricane Ike’s effects are still obvious around town. The most telling reminder is the significant amount of people who are still without power. Tonight was the first time I had been out at night since the hurricane. I drove about 30 miles south on I45 to Sarah and John’s house in Pearland. Some people claim that the hurricane basically followed I45 from south to north. There was certainly a lot of damage to be seen along that route. There were many signs torn to shreds or knocked to the ground. The sign for “The Ritz,” a seedy strip club was almost completely destroyed. I wasn’t too upset about that one.
I got a different picture of the area as I drove home on the freeway. It seemed as if there was a mile of stores and homes with electricity followed by a mile of stores and homes without. There was almost a pattern formed by it. I can only imagine that from a bird’s eye view, the city must closely resemble a checkerboard at night. My own neighborhood seems to have more people without power than with power. The sections without power are eerily dark and give me an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is crazy how dark it gets with no street lights.
I drove by my school and saw that it did have power. I am assuming that school will resume on Monday, though I won’t know for sure until Friday. My old school district, CCISD, which is further south sustained a lot of damage at several schools and won’t be opening for at least another week. I am not sure how I feel about going back to school. I barely got to know my students before this happened so I fear it will be like starting all over again. I found out today that the apartment complex where about 25% of my students live was significantly damaged during the storm. Even in the dark I could see pieces of the roof missing as I drove by. I hope my students didn’t lose possessions and weren’t traumatized by the whole thing. To be honest, I would guess a good number of them went to Mexico. Not a bad idea.
The lines for gas are finally gone. I am so glad I was able to hold out until today to get gas. What a waste it would have been to wait in one of those four hour + lines! I am still finding humor in the things that the stores are running low on after the hurricane. Frozen foods tend to be popular as many people are restocking their refrigerators to replace the food that spoiled without electricity. Board games have been cleared out at the Target near my house. I think that’s because young hipsters like myself, turn to board games when they have extra time and limited electronics. Snack food also seems to be a hot item, though the “hot” versions of chips are the only ones left on the shelves. I guess hot cheetos aren’t as popular post-hurricane.
People are doing fairly well at driving with all the broken, fallen or displaced traffic signals. Every intersection is pretty much a four way stop. This can be very tedious at times. My roommate’s twenty minute drive to work has turned into an hour drive much to her dismay. I am starting to have problems with the lights that are fixed. When I see a red light, I feel compelled to stop and then go. Luckily common sense has overcome this urge but it can be difficult to get used to the normal way of driving. I am sure it will take a while for all the traffic signals to get fixed. Some seem to simply lack power but others have been blown over, knocked down, spun in the opposite direction or tilted.
I have heard plenty of stories about people dramatically affected by this hurricane. Andrew Thompson, a friend from college, has lost his whole house. Apparently he lost all the shingles on his roof, which caused the roof to link and then to fully cave in. He and his wife just had their second baby this summer and also have a two-year old. I can’t imagine what this must be like. Please pray for his family. My parents know of a family that had eight feet of water in their home. This is true of several of the coastal neighborhoods. I can’t even imagine.
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