Friday, March 11, 2011

it’s a rough planet

Today was beautiful weather as I started to prep a house in St Bernard Parish for painting.  St. Bernard was hit hard during Katrina, in fact the house I was working on like many on the street still bore a spray painted X on the porch marking that it had been searched for bodies after the storm. The radio next to me was reporting on the devastation in Japan.

The contractor that I am working for has been getting a lot of work correcting repair work that was done in the months following the hurricane. Shoddy work done by fly-by-night contractors who flooded the city after the storm waters receded. Paint jobs that should have lasted 10 to 15 years starting to peel after 5.

I needed at lunch to find coffee and cigarettes. I walked block after block finding the same patterns, a recently renovated shotgun house, a couple of vacant lots with just concrete slabs, another recently renovated shotgun and an occasional vacant house covered with vines. One gutted home had PLEASE BULLDOZE spray painted on the front.  I had to walk a lot father than I anticipated, most of the strip malls that we passed on the way in, turned out to still be abandoned.


Like the rest of the world who watched the tragedy unfold on the news channels, we could not imagine what it was like for the residents. I’ve heard many recountings from those who were here. I often wonder how I will respond when and if I am forced to. Will I stay or evacuate and will I suffer the post traumatic stress of seeing my adopted city ravaged by nature.

Often we hear astronomers speak of how Earth is nestled in just the perfect location in our solar system. Any closer to the sun and we’d burn, any farther from the sun we’d freeze.  How incredibly perfectly located we are in the big picture with enough oxygen and water.  Listening to the radio reports of how many thousands may have died do to the earthquake and the following tsunami while wire brushing a Katrina X I thought about this planet. It’s not nearly as friendly as the travel brochures make it sound.

99 percent of the time it is pretty decent, but now and then the atmosphere decides to it’s time to fuck with us by slamming humanity with unlivable conditions. At times the most stable thing in our lives, the very plant itself becomes violent and our seas desire to show that they are in the majority and land is the minority.

It can be a rough planet to live on at times.

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