Like a lot of you I’m sure, I’ve been thinking about hurricanes for the past few weeks, first seeing the awful devastation that hit the Houston area, and then of course last weekend in the entire state of Florida. I don’t want to talk about climate change and weather patterns or any of that today; what I’ve really been pondering the last few days is why we live where we live, and how that sometimes is so important to us that nothing else matters.
Some of us live where we do because that’s where our job took us; some of us live where we do because of family reasons, or health reasons, or because one day we were just tired of moving and decided to stay here. (It’s no secret to my wife that if our family wasn’t here in New York, I’d be perfectly happy living elsewhere; moving around the country most of my adult life has shown me I can be happy in lots of different places.)
But then there are people who just grow so attached to a place, so rooted, that they can’t conceive of ever moving. I’m talking about some of the people in this devastating video (below) that the New York Times shot in the Florida Keys over the past few days. The Keys, as you’ve probably heard, was perhaps the hardest-hit by Irma of any place in Florida. Destruction everywhere, homes destroyed, property severely damaged.
Of course when you live near the water in Florida you know something like this could happen, that storms could upend your life. And yet with so many other places to go, the sense of attachment, of needing to stay in a possibly-dangerous place, is so strong.
Listen to this first man in the video, Kris Mills of Cudjoe Key, Fla. talking about all that he’s lost. After ticking off some items and starting to get emotional, he stops.
“But you know, it’s a part of living here. There’s a price to pay no matter where you live.”
That sentence stopped me cold. Is there really a price to pay no matter where you live? I’m not sure there is. Why would you be so stubborn, and so rooted, in a place where you know there is such danger? Wouldn’t you choose to live somewhere safer?
Listen to Pete Diaz of Key Largo starting at the 1:20 mark of the video. He says “I’ll never leave. Why would I leave?” At the end of the day, this will all be back. Material goods can be replaced. And you keep going.”
I don’t know, I just don’t get this mindset. Like I said, maybe it’s me. Since I started college in 1993, the longest I’d ever lived in one place was five years. Just this year, my sixth being back in New York City, has been the longest I’ve lived somewhere since college.
These people in the Keys, in other tropical places susceptible to hurricanes, love their are so much, that the threat of epic disasters don’t bother them.
It’s amazing to see.
**Next up today, it’s football season now which means there’ll be lots of crazy plays and screw-ups. But even though we’re only in mid-September, I’m going out on a limb and saying this will be the biggest negative play of the year. That’s because starting with this bad snap, the Louisiana Tech offense went backwards 87 yards here. Eighty-seven! What’s most infuriating if I’m a Mississippi St. coach is how many of my players tried to pick the ball up and failed. It’s like the first thing defensive players are told: Fall on the ball! Don’t try to pick it up, just fall on it!
**And finally, a few words about a subject you probably never think about, unless you’re an electrician or a chime salesman: doorbells. It seems that Millennials, in addition to other things they’ve changed in our society (usually for the worse), no longer have any use or need for doorbells.
Nope, they just roll up to their friends’ houses or apartment buildings, text that they’re outside and ready to go, and bam, their friend comes out.
“Doorbells are so sudden. It’s terrifying,” says Tiffany Zhong, a 20-year-old who’s apparently easily frightened.
This story about the death of the doorbell saddens me a little. Apparently people are feeling like its too much effort to ring a doorbell, or they don’t want to scare or frighten their friends by pressing a device that makes a loud sound.
Me? I love doorbells, always have. I enjoyed as a kid going to friends’ houses and hearing the different sounds. One buddy of mine had a grandfather clock-like doorbell, while another one played a lullaby. Then of course there was the ultimate “we’re bored” game, playing “ring and run,” ringing someone you don’t know’s doorbell, running and hiding as they come to the door and are confused, then laughing hysterically (we didn’t have the Internet, people, we often had to make our own fun.)
Plus as a kid,when our doorbell would ring, it was 5-10 seconds of pure excitement.
Who’s at the door? A friend asking if I want to come outside and play street hockey? The UPS guy with a package delivery? A neighbor needing to borrow something? The doorbell ringing was the sign that something was happening, maybe something great, maybe something terrible, but always something to relieve the boredom of life as a kid.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just romanticizing something. But even today I like doorbells, and I’ll be sad if you damn millennials kill them completely.
Ding dong, the witch is not yet dead.