Before A Storm

Typhoon Maria, July 2018
Typhoon Maria, July 2018

There’s a real dichotomy of feeling  the day before a typhoon. On the one hand, you hope nobody gets hurts, and on the other–being completely honest–there’s the potential day off of work factor. It’s a weird thing when the government announces what cities get a ‘Typhoon Day’ holiday. You watch the ticker tape news sidebar roll out one of two answers. Work. No Work. It may sound heartless, but there are always a few “yee-haws” when your city gets the day off. Especially if you’ve been gambling on the latter, and have already tipped back several million beers. Gamble wrong, and it’s a tough rainy hangover day of work.

Taiwan has become much more careful in the past few years. The government used to roll the dice on this issue. There were times that the day wasn’t called off, while the wind and rain pummeled the area. Thankfully, Taiwan has adopted a better safe than sorry approach. Sometimes you don’t even get a drop of rain or anything more than a muggy windless day. And yet, you always know that somewhere else on the island, the wind is roaring.

Tandoori Chicken Pie
Tandoori Chicken Pie

It’s Tuesday morning here in muggy pre-typhoon Taichung. And I’ve prepared some food for a potential hunkering down, if Typhoon Maria does hit hard. There are tandoori chicken pies frozen, a couple homemade pizzas, and a delicious rice dish that was pressure cooked with pork and fish. Truthfully, all I’m lacking is probably beer and ciggies.

There have been many times I had nothing in my fridge or pantry during these storms. One time, I didn’t even have drinking water. Doors and windows are closed flush and you just wait it out. So some prep makes things a whole lot more comfortable. If you’re lucky, you have some peeps sticking it out for the duration with you. If not, it’s a kind of boring time–worse if you’re hungry.

Cast Iron Pizza
Cast Iron Pizza

There is an electricity in the air before a typhoon. An anticipation, a little trepidation, and a want to be stuck in a place with friends and family–drinking beer, playing poker and heavy rock–even taking dangerous short walks around the blustery hood. Simultaneously there are fingers crossed for the most exposed regions of Taiwan–coastal towns on the east, mountain villages skirted with rushing rivers. A hope for safety and lack of destruction. It is an interesting balance of emotion between living on one or more of the flip sides of weather phenomena.

So, for this storm that cometh, I hope Typhoon Maria turns out to be a dud, and everyone on the island still gets to enjoy a sweet day off.

4 thoughts on “Before A Storm

  1. Yeah, I hope it’s a dud too. But as the author alluded to, it I will most assuredly won’t be a dud somewhere. The longer I live in the countryside the less I am able to enjoy such wonders of nature from the relatively safe and cradled urban crib . I’ve seen years of farm work wiped out in a day and think “fuck, how do these people get up the day after a typhoon and just do it again?”

    I totally have experienced and understand the phenomenon of underlying excitement about the freakish holiday prospect. I also have a fridge full of food that I prepared and feel pretty snug like a bug in a rug about.

    Now that I’m well into my 50s and know much more than ever how fragile everything is in life, it feels too junior high punk rock to be able to appreciate. Such are the sour grapes that come with the reality of upper middle age perhaps….

    In the end, bring it on. Humans are and always have been a belligerently audacious in their self made temporal accommodations, we are masters of living in denial about the fact that someday we will not be able to weather the storm . Yeah, typhoons tend to make us wax biblical!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes safety first, but what if you could guarantee safety – nothing like a random day off, it’s the randomness that makes it sweeter. One old doctor I had many years ago once said we all need random mental health days in a driven world 🙂


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