Greetings! After twenty-seven hours in the dark, power returned, inspiring a heartwarming collective cheer from my condo neighbors.
Churning slower and remaining stronger despite a lifesaving (for us) scrape against northern Cuba, Irma spent eighteen hours in Miami-Dade and Broward. We got in essence a Category 1 storm that felt like a five; by contrast Andrew and Wilma had skedaddled in four hours tops. I was never scared — I was bored and frustrated.
By the time Florida Power and Light got to us, we’d made our building pretty: every puddle, leaf, and stem had been picked up. Battery-operated radios blasted salsa and “Despacito.” The air was thick with wet grass and Mistolin. My neighbor above me doused his delighted six-year-old boy with water; I watched it drip down my balcony.
Normality has a little while before it finds us. Ninety percent of Miami-Dade is without power. Downed trees of all kinds — ficus, olive, oak — have strewn their broken or severed limbs across every major thoroughfare. Men and women dress as if going to the beach. I’m tapping this post on my phone because my cable and internet are out (I will hold AT&T to its word: no charge for overtime minutes).
When scored to the buzz of chainsaws and measured by every drop of lukewarm water, these concerns look especially minor. And my parents and sister still need help. But hurricane recovery, like life, comprises baby steps.