Hurricane Jeanne decided to visit Philadelphia today. I guess all of the tourism advertising really paid off. It even attracts the attention of major meteorological events. Well, I hope it drops a lot of cash at the Liberty Bell gift shop, ’cause I’m sick of it. This evening Jeanne intruded into my life and became more than a news story for me. Feh. Fortunately, no one around me was hurt.
My drive home typically takes about 30—40 minutes. Tonight, it took two hours and fifteen minutes. Now, at face value, that may not seem like much. However, there were a few extenuating circumstances: 1) It was raining like crazy. 2) It was dark out. 3) All major arteries running from the NW Philly suburbs (where I work) to the Philly limits were flooded and/or blocked.* 4) I don’t really know my way around that area very well. 5) Apparently, neither does anyone else, and there are, oh, just a few people who live and work in and around Philly.
Go home, Jeanne! One Philly cheesesteak is enough! They don’t get any better, so go to New York now. I know you’ve been meaning to see the Statue of Liberty and now it’s open, so just get out there and have yourself a good time in someone else’s state. There’s a lot of coastline left for you to see.
*For those of you familiar with the area, the Schulkyll Expressway (76) was closed in both directions. That’s just WRONG, people. WRONG.
The worst part of the whole ordeal was the sense of isolation and loss of control. The situation is so ridiculous, the police were just dumping people off of the biggest highways in the area just to keep them from getting swept away in flooding. They didn’t, y’know, tell us what to do or anything. But how could they? Roads all over were closing and flooding. So, I was driving around confused and completely convinced I’d be staying at SleepyComfort Inn on some depressing commercial route in some small sub-ville outside of the suburbs, along with a few hundred other disgruntled and wet professionals.
After much re-routing and sitting in dense traffic trying to funnel through stoplights designed for 10% of the flow and mall parking lots, designed for… well, parking, I was able to make my way home. I saw many emergency vehicles and a few cars lost to flood zones or impromptu parking lot lakes. While this was certainly an aggravating and somewhat disorienting experience, I know that it is merely a drop in the bucket of what Jeanne dished out, particularly down in the southern coastal states. This experience certainly gives perspective to what others have gone through. I felt helpless, but not in serious danger. And, ultimately, I knew that I’d get back to a warm, dry apartment. I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like to flee a storm or know that I would come back to wet wreckage.
Anyway, existential melodrama aside, I’m fine and only a bit aggravated. Unfortunately, Alisa will most likely have to stay with Rebecca and Brian tonight, as she works in South Philly. ::sigh::
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Jeanne.