Hurricanes and Heroes: On Anticipating Extreme Weather

Incase you hadn’t heard, there is a hurricane heading towards New York (and most of the east coast) that goes by the name of Irene.

People all deal with the anticipation of extreme weather and all of its potentialities differently. You have those that take all necessary, and many unnecessary, precautions to make sure they are prepared. You have others that become paralyzed with anxiety and spend days afraid of what might happen, but don’t actually do anything to prepare for what’s to come. And then there is the last group, you can call them what you will, that harbor a dark excitement for the potential of disaster.

It’s an interesting thought experiment to dissect this position. It’s not that these people want anything bad to happen to themselves, or any one else for that matter, but they still anxiously await what’s to come. They want to be a part of something. They want to have a story to tell. They want to see how they can measure up when tested by mother nature. A sort of trial by fire.

I asked several people how they felt about Irene’s arrival this weekend and I got answers across the board. I heard, “I’m freaking OUT. I feel really scared to be alone and I hate feeling like I’m trapped. It’s overwhelming.” I heard, “IDK. Whenever they give us hurricane warnings here I never put much thought into them. I make sure I have an umbrella. That's about it.” And then I heard the perspective in question, “It’s an event, it’s almost like I bought tickets to it. I want to see what happens.”

This feeling of wanting to be a part of something big, to bear witness to the incredible isn’t unique, in fact it’s propagated by almost every Hollywood action movie. Open scene to bored office worker drudging through life, directionless, lost, barely conscious. Cue massive cataclysmic event. Witness transformation of our lost soul into a hero of epic proportions. It exists through the ages, from Jesus the carpenter to Neo the office drone. Noah was literally challenged by a giant storm. It’s no wonder then that people think of storms imaginatively, wondering if this will be their moment to rise above their current station and become a hero, or at the very least be tested enough to show their true ilk, their worthiness.

So this weekend, when you’re holed up in your apartment or condo or house somewhere along the east coast, if you fantasize about becoming Jake Gyllenhaal from The Day After Tomorrow, you can take solace in the fact that you aren’t the only one. People have been thinking those same thoughts straight on down through the ages. However, if you’ve already built your ship and have begun gathering the woodland creatures, do us all a favor— don’t forget the Unicorns. The world could use a few more rainbows and glitter.

Written by Joey Camire Image Via