Realizing Response Reality?
A few months ago while I was on my way to the airport in the Exumas, I chatted with a Bahamian taxi driver who was listening to his car radio. I asked him about the conversation. He said it was a discussion about last year's Hurricane Joaquin which ravaged the Exumas. I asked him why Bahamians were still debating the topic 10 months after the storm's devastation. As I listened to his answer, I also could hear the resignation in his voice - government funds still had not been allocated and distributed to Great Exuma residents and business owners whose livelihoods had been wiped out by the storm. Sounded eerily familiar to the US Congress' response to assist 911 first responders! Last week as I watched reports of a hurricane ravaging the Caribbean and the Bahamas, I imagined its impact on those poor susceptible souls whose realities were turned upside down by nature and political posturing.
As Hurricane Matthew blew by me and my Mystique last week near Miami, I decided to write a bit about the unraveling of reality.
Past paths of actual 21st century eastern American hurricanes or the first real view of a Trump immigration plan?
Matthew's blow led me to contemplate variations on the tropical storm theme: huge winds, heavy rainfall, pounding waves, widespread flooding, massive destruction, washed away beaches, downed power lines, uprooted trees, outed electricity, closed road, poor visibility...and devastation. As every hurricane arrives, it leaves many with life-altering consequences. While real storms sweep through civilization, some seap and sink into human consciousness.
Reality does not always rescue. The survivors, the victims, the spectators, the first responders and other rescuers all face different realities.
So how do these destructive powers impact these human spirits and their essence of life afterwards? Afterall, reality is susceptible and fragile to outside forces. It can alter life in a moment.
Matthew prepares to deluge Miami and Mystique.
So as my reality last week bumped up against Nature's, it also crossed paths with other boating diehard realities who decided to weather their realities aboard their vessel. But while my Mystique did not sustain any physical damage, my thoughts collided with society's packaged portrayal of the storm's progress. As I accessed various weather forecasting sources, I realized that once again clarity is in short supply.
I understand why humans name hurricanes. Humans needs names. They make it much easier to identify, discuss, comprehend, catalog and file insurance claims when a significant natural weather pattern blows through town. But while names may identify, they also disguise reality.
I also began to understand why a hurricane name feels so benign by itself. It is intentional. A name is not a behavior. A name is not its impact on the society. Katrina, for example, now has a negative association in name only. No name is, after all, bestowed to describe its impact or aftermath. Saying Matthew's name does not label its devastation, consequences or life-changing effects. No name labels those more significant aspects of the disaster.
Humans aren't honest. If they were, they would not exaggerate / blow out of proportion, understate, avoid, mislead, omit or distort reality. What if results of Matthew's fury and temper tantrum were more truthful? Matthew was actually a bad boy bully. Socially realistic headlines might reflect and associate with Matt's behavioral issues and his devastation...maybe something like Bad Boy Bedwetter Bullies, Batters Bahamas; Tempest-tossed Tequesta Tears; Temper Tantrum Blows; Hysterical Hellraiser Rules; Gale Forces Families Flees; Rough Housing Reigns...etc.
Without any subtle attempts to label, personify or anthropomorphise the impact a tropical storm , I considered the following variations:
Better Safe than Sorry?
Calling a Spade a Spade?
As last week's Hurricane Matthew rained and blew through much of the southeastern region of North American, blowhard Donald Trump ranted, recanted, retorted, retweeted and stormed his own distorted worldview. As I witnessed how a natural hurricane and an unnatural "him-icane" collided with the shores of sanity, I pondered their similar origins, routes and effects. One a typhoon; the other a tycoon possessed shockingly similar traits. So blogging about them seemed one sane way to process their pathology. But as if these two tempestuous trouble-makers were not enough, two other related trends also seem to be threatening civilization - truth and reality.
During my five days preparation for Hurricane Matthew on my 40-foot catamaran Mystique, I witnessed some false forecasting. Anchored about 2 miles from downtown Miami, I rode out the reality of Mathew's fury, but it varied vastly from a number of some hurried or harried hurricane forecasts.
It wasn't the storm's variable wind gusts that surprised me. It wasn't so much the variable accounts, forecasts and warnings that actually grabbed my attention. What bothered me most was how inaccurate and overblown those reports were to my reality. I had set my two anchors prepping my vessel for 100+ knot winds, but my anemometer during the two days rarely recorded any wind speeds above 30 mph.
Mistified Miami? Where's the skyline?
As much as conservative forces attempt to contain, capsulize and control just about everything, Nature's appears to always ready to remind us we don't listen, adapt, or learn. Could it be that nature continues to confound and confuse human controlling impulses? After all, natural forces can be capricious and uncooperative. Any sailor knows weather and wind are notoriously fickle, and never fake. Waves and tidal currents may proffer some predictability, but they too can not be harnessed.
Maybe it's an extension and consequence of our exaggerated reality show entertainment? Maybe it has something to do with stations inflating ratings? Maybe it has to do with absolute incompetence? Maybe it has something to do with fueling fear? Maybe it's the political rancor in the air?
Maybe it is American blow harts wagging the dog? Could it be a Donald Trump passing gas? While some of these seem ridiculous, all seem disturbingly possible given our societal climate or sociopathic mindsets.
The public is gullible after all.
But to this skeptical sailor - reality isn't being reported accurately. The discrepancies are one issue while speculation about their various causes only fuels skepticism of our media's motives.
The average person will react to the reported info as if it were true. But those who use and rely on more than one source for their information notice the differences. While friends in Florida and Long Island New York sent me text messages about what they thought I was experiencing, I relied on Windfinder.com and Weatherunderground.com.
How can anyone explain the wide range of weather reporting? I realize weather is fickle and human nature tends to exaggerate. I realize that meteorology is not an exact science. I understand we all experience life differently. I also realize we live in a fear-based, entertainment-oriented, rating-driven society, but how does one grasp and digest the huge variations and discrepancies.
Wind speed and direction are easily measured. My boat has an accurate anemometer for measuring both. I wasn't watching it religiously or scientifically. I'm not a fanatic weather-watcher, but whenever I heard the rush of a gust outside my cabin, I would glance at the gauge. 32 knots was the highest wind speed I noticed in Miami harbor. Hum? One site forecast 60+ winds.
I could only imagine what Fox weather reported. Could Donald Trump take credit for the tropical depression missing Miami? Or is it possible he somehow influenced the media to inflate numbers higher than reality? I'm not saying it is true, but I am just saying.
As Matthew headed northward over Haiti and Cuba it had reported 140 mph winds and rainfall predictions in the 5-10 inch range. Of the 50 boats anchored in Marine Stadium anchorage, maybe 30-40 percent of the owners stayed aboard their vessel during the hurricane.
Bahamian path 200 miles eastward was the biggest barrier factor. Miami dodged some major bullets Mystique escaped the titanic tussle with nary a scrape, off of the Matt without a scratch, so to speak. Lots of torrential rain, but winds less than 35 knots and maybe one foot waves!....lots of bluster, barely a significant blow-down / beat-down....got lucky in the protected anchorage where we two were, Key Biscayne's Marine Stadium anchorage, a wooded tree line wind barrier and maybe even the Miami skyline could have lessened the blow.
Six porpoises circled Mystique before the low pressure system hit my haven.
Could it be our minds are living in an alternative reality? Maybe we all have to realize we need to rescue ourselves first.