Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Water from the sky

I walked out of my apartment this morning to discover that it had rained during the night. My gut reaction was a gasp and a smile, as if someone had thrown me a surprise party, or I had found a small pile of gold or presents. I don't think I've seen rain in months, and I'm really used to about twice the rainfall back home. I'm still not acclimated to Austin a year later, though my ears have mostly stopped popping on my daily commute.

Katrina hit New Orleans a year ago. I left home a year ago yesterday. Last year, all of my assumptions about the future were tossed and turned and rolled. I can get more than a little moody, he understated, and Katrina doesn't help. Last year, I didn't know where we were going to live in the next few days, and Cat and I were living like refugees- out of the suitcase and out of hotels and out of the car. Then, we made the decision to do Dragon*Con because we had the tickets and the hotel room and we didn't want to stay in Montgomery.

I've been through three and a half jobs in the last year, leaving Tulane, doing some freelance consulting, then working for Dell and now for Xilinx. We live in an apartment half the size where we used to for about the same rent. Groceries and car insurance are cheaper. I'm working on more games, and playing more- certainly buying more (I've more than doubled my collection in ten months). Cat's a certified locksmith. I don't personally know anyone who died due to the storm.

Some newsfeed or another reported anecdotal evidence that depression is rampant and suicide rates are unnaturally high. I don't want to believe that, but it doesn't surprise me. Research leads me to the article in the New York Times- the suicide rate is close to triple the pre-K rate.

People here in Austin ask me if I ever think about going home- I hear an undercurrent of implication that I can't put my finger on. It doesn't help that I have yet to meet anyone who is from Austin. Everyone I've met moved here of their own volition for some reason, be it college or a job or the community or the music scene.

A friend of mine mentioned last night that before meeting me, he didn't know anyone affected by Katrina, so the whole hurricane thing was sort of a joke. Chalk it up to schadenfreude, to youth, or whatever. Now that he knows me, he has a personal focus for the real experience of what the hurricane and the flood means to a real live person. I want to share and tell and show pictures and bring people back to the city so they can understand. But I need to move on.

This morning, I drove with the windows down most of the way to work, smelling the ozone in the air and listening to the zip of cars on wet asphalt.

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