Hurricane RITArded or not?


Remember all of the hurricane ordeal last year? It’s this time of year again.

I’m sure we had all kinds of experiences with Hurricane Rita. We haven’t even finished taking care of and giving relief to those who came to Houston from Hurricane Katrina, and now we had to deal with Hurricane Rita (just 3 weeks later).

Some people think Hurricane Rita was a tease, others thought it was RITArded, and still others think Houston still has a long way to go, in terms of preparation for future hurricane evacuations.

For me, at least, the whole thing felt ridiculous, and I was frustrated. Since I live way out (in Friendswood and Clear Lake area), we were ordered to evacuate. And what do you know, I think I spent at least 24 hours on the road getting out of Houston and returning home to Houston. I wish I had photographs, but I was watching people acting very much like ants–hoarding carts and carts of water, tanks of gas, nonperishable food, and hygienic items. I find it scarier to meet cars (or drivers really) fighting each other for gas at gas stations than the whole evacuation itself.

Plus, I think we coined a new term for the dictionary. Instead of “major traffic,” it’s now called gridlock.

For the next hurricane, my dad says that we’re not going anywhere. We’re gonna ride it out, he said.

For two weeks after Hurricane Rita though, my house turned into a daycare center for 2 families (my cousins and their wives and screaming kids), because where they lived was in Rita’s path. It was so difficult to concentrate on school work or anything else. I sort of turned into a social worker and helped them with applications for FEMA and among other things. And if you ever had guests in your house, you would definitely understand how crazy it can get. I’m glad that no one was hurt though, and they evacuated as soon as they could.

As for my best friend’s birthday, it was ruined the entire week. She didn’t get to celebrate it, but since this year is her 21st, it’ll be a blast and no hurricane can ruin it.

To conclude, I can’t believe it’s been a year since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. What were your experiences from Hurricane Rita? After all, Rita gave us a bruise and not a punch. Should we be thankful? Maybe we were just lucky and got away this time.

*Note: Photo courtesy of Scoop.

7 Comments so far

  1. katya (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2006 @ 8:15 pm

    Rita was not fun, but for us could’ve been much worse as far as time spent on the road.

    In our case, we didn’t have to evacuate and in hindsight I feel ridiculous for having contributed to the mass chaos on the roads…. this year and every other hurricane season from now we’ll make up our own mind about whether or not to jump ship or stay close to home — hyperventilating family members and news reporters be damned :)

  2. LessCowbell (unregistered) on September 25th, 2006 @ 4:31 pm

    Yeah Rita sucked as far as the gas shortage and traffic jams. I live just west of the Galleria. Luckily I only lost power there. Out of paranoia (mostly my mother’s) I trudged out to her place in Cy-Fair (1960/Eldridge area). Ugh. She doesn’t have cable or high-speed internet, so we had to evtertain ourselves by watching the local news coverage of the traffic jams. It sounds cliche but I really do blame the media for a lot of the paranoia.

  3. Chris Doelle (unregistered) on September 25th, 2006 @ 9:06 pm

    Uh, the term gridlock has been around for decades. We didn’t coin it – we just exaggerated it. :)

  4. a~lotus (unregistered) on September 25th, 2006 @ 9:33 pm

    Really, Chris?

    because i’ve never heard that word used for extreme traffic jams until rita.

    when was it used before?

  5. katya (unregistered) on September 26th, 2006 @ 12:07 pm

    Actually I’ve heard the ‘Gridlock’ phrase before too – in extremely horrible traffic conditions caused by overturned and exploding 18-wheelers carrying hazardous materials that have spilled out and are eating away the freeway pavement and stalling traffic for 50 miles around… or something :)

    I think it’s just like all of those other terms… chad, etc…. that have been around but some stupid news reporter decides to be clever and use it and it spreads and spreads to other news outlets until even your mom is saying it and you decide that if you hear it one more damn time you will seriously turn to a life of crime and violence.

    I hate those buzzwords, hence the rant :) heh…

  6. shawn (unregistered) on September 26th, 2006 @ 8:42 pm

    I love buzzwords. I totally freakin adore them. I just started working at the University of Phoenix (yes, in Houston) and during the orientation our campus director said the word podcasting. It was all I could do to keep from jumping across the table, shoving a microphone in his face and hitting the record button. Unfortunately, there was no record button to be hitting and there was a huge lack of microphones. And although it would have been quite a site to jump across the tables, it’s not necessarily the best first impression. Add to that the fact that I’ve never made a podcast.

    But yeah, I love buzzwords!!


  7. agm (unregistered) on September 29th, 2006 @ 12:16 am

    I’m not quite three decades old, and I’ve known the term gridlock for as long as I’ve known what a car is. I believe it was coined in reference to places like DC and NYC.

    To quibble over something, the problem wasn’t the number of people panicking and trying to leave, the problem was that we refuse to accept that the infrastructure necessary to move millions of people out of a major urban area IN LESS THAN A WEEK doesn’t exist and never will exist. The cost of building is so extravagantly high that no one would ever agree to pay for it. We just have to learn to cope with things when life happnes. We can’t stop a natural disaster, we can only go on with life afterwards.

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