Here’s how I know a hurricane is coming: We have lentils.
We NEVER eat lentils. I am not 100 percent sure what a lentil is. I do know for a fact that not once has anybody in our household ever said, “You know what would be great for dinner tonight? Lentils!”
But at the moment we have roughly a 45-year supply of lentils on hand. This is because we are in Hurricane Preparedness Freakout Mode, and one of the things we Floridians do in this mode is go to Publix and get in long lines to buy mass quantities of things we will never eat. Publix could put out a big display of cans labeled “Toad Intestines Packed In Snail Vomit” and we Floridians would snap them all up in minutes. That’s how prepared we are.
My family did manage to secure a large supply of jerky, which we actually like. We chew it thoughtfully while we watch the Weather Channel people tell us, over and over and over, how screwed we are. All our jerky will be gone before Irma gets here.
When we’re not eating our hurricane supplies or waiting in line to buy more, we’re going on the Internet to check the computer models, which are these little lines on a map showing where various computers think the hurricane will go. Checking these lines makes me nervous, so I try not to do it too often. Once every six minutes is plenty. I root for the lines that have the hurricane going away from South Florida, but there’s always at least one line going straight toward me. If you zoom in really close, you see a little square at the end of this line labeled DAVE BARRY’S HOUSE. Sometimes I click on this line with my mouse and try to drag it out to sea, but evidently computer models don’t work that way.
As part of our preparedness we have a “whole house” generator, which is the size of a nuclear submarine but more expensive. We installed it after Wilma knocked out our power for a couple of weeks in 2005 and we all smelled like unlaundered jockstraps. We take good care of our generator: It gets serviced regularly, and it automatically tests itself every week. That is why I can calmly report that, with a major hurricane heading directly at my house, our generator, which has been well-treated for all these years and has never been asked to generate anything, IS NOT WORKING. Really. When I turn it on, it turns itself right back off. It is the French labor union of generators.
So I called our generator guy, a good and competent man named Ralph (I am sucking up here) who at the moment is dealing with frantic distress calls from pretty much every generator owner in the greater Florida-Georgia area. Ralph is hoping he can get us up and running before Irma gets here. If not, I will implement Plan B, which is to go to Home Depot and purchase – if there are any left – a bazooka. We’ll see how the French Labor Generator likes THAT.
Anyway, to summarize, in checklist form, the current state of our hurricane preparedness:
JERKY: Going fast.
So we’re as ready as we’ll ever be. I hope my fellow South Floridians are also prepared; I hope — seriously — that we all come out of this OK. But whatever happens, I am confident that when it’s over, we will come together, as a united, caring community, and get into fistfights in gas lines.
I am definitely getting a bazooka.