Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hurricane hilarity

Dark clouds mounted over St. Thomas on Sunday morning and you could hear the tree branches next to my house rub against the roof because of the strong winds.

Coincidentally, I was sitting on the couch watching Karate Kid II. You remember the part when the big storm is about to crush Mr. Miyagi's home in Japan? Stellar cinema, indeed.

Then my phone rang.

Scottie H: “Yo, so what's up with this chili cookoff? Is it going to happen?

Aaron G: “It says 'rain or shine.' What do you think?”

Scottie H: “The forecast says a huge storm is coming.”

Aaron G: “Let's get some beer. I'll pick you up in 20. I do not have the fear.”

Scottie H: “Neither do I. Maybe that's why we hang out together...”

I couldn't get Brianna to come because she is blessed with common sense. I put on a bathing suit, slipped on sandals and grabbed the cooler. Three ingredients to a good time.

I picked up Scottie and we drove straight to Brewer's Beach for the Texas Society Chili Cookoff. I was surprised by the early turnout considering the Apocalypse was right around Crown Mountain and it was heading toward the party.

As we pulled up to the parking lot, we saw a fat black lady walking down the street with a plastic, yellow grocery bag on her head to protect the weave.

“That's how you know this shit is serious,” I said to Scottie.

The plan was simple. Emerge from the car with just our bathing suits, a T-shirt and sandals. Leave all electronics in the car. When it rained, get in the water and bring the beer. Relax in the water. Turn around and witness the carnage.

Innocent chilli cookers and eaters tried to have fun but the weather was unrelenting. We stood there and watched as people frantically lunged to secure poles so the tents didn't fly away in the tropical winds. The rain started to pour so the guy on the stage gently talked into the microphone like it was Woodstock.

“Everyone, just hug the person next to you. We can get through this...”

We laughed out loud at people's misfortunes. We pointed at their miserable attempts to close up shop. You've heard of good Samaritans, right? We were the exact opposite.

Eventually, the good people that ran the cookoff called it quits before the storm really got nasty. We frolicked back to my car and sat on my leather seats soaking wet.

I didn't have to make any phone calls. Hurricane Party plans had already been made.

Now one of the coolest thing about living on an island vulnerable to Hurricanes is Hurricane Parties. The key is to gather with a good group before the power goes out, the charcoals cool off and the beer gets warm.

At this particular Hurricane Party, we feasted on delicious shrimp sewers, sausages and cookies. We threw down cold beer, shots of dark Cruzan and I even learned how to play dominoes.

Many thanks to the Wolverine, chef Julie, cookie master Bobbi, the landlord, the lanlord's roommate Sean and the others who made it a memorable night. I couldn't think of a better crew to hunker down with.

The powers that be put an 8 p.m. curfew in place, which made me snicker.

Before I returned home (and before the island turned upside down), I had to drive Scottie and Bobbi back home. He lived almost on top of Crown Mountain – the perfect place you want to be for a Hurricane – and as for Bobbi, she lived back in town.

We were one of the only cars on the road except for the swine. On three separate occasions, they somehow managed to pull up next to me and inform me of the 8 p.m. curfew.

The latest encounter came at 10:23 p.m.

“I didn't know, officer. I figured I could play the dumb car until at least midnight. Thanks for your concern, though.”

And then I would drive off. It was that simple. The next day, my boss gave me a Hurricane Curfew ID so now big URN is finally above the law! (Kingpin quote)

The eye of the storm actually went across St. Croix (45 miles south of St. Thomas) but the damage was very minimal. I've spent the last two days making fun of friends who had called to see if I was alive or OK.

The latest idiot, ehh, I mean good-natured friend was my boy Chico. He even posted something on my facebook page inquiring my whereabouts while I watched the Giants beat up on the Bears at Hooter's on Monday.

I called him back this morning and was surprised he picked up.

Hurricane survivor: “Chico, it's absolute chaos over here. Our house is completely gone and we're holed up in a refugee shelter. This jackal just stabbed me for the last piece of bread so I fashioned a piece of dirty wood into a spear. I'm about to run amok in this place...”

Chico: “C'mon, Urn. Tell me some truth.”

Hurricane survivor: “I'm serious, bro. Pay one of our rich yacht friends from Florida to come pick me up. It's pure anarchy. The carnage is unbearable.”

Chico: “I'm hanging up.”

Now I'm sure there are natural disasters that occur all the time on this planet and many lives are lost. Just like a devastating earthquake in Virginia. So I shouldn't make fun. But I was already warmed up and I couldn't help myself.

From a facebook post earlier this afternoon: Our Hurricane/Tropical Storm will kick your Earthquake's ass any day of the week.

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