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.
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.
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.