I want to love you but I’m getting blown away.

I see that Hurricane Irene has come ashore in North Carolina. Even though the strength of its winds has decreased, the news media are reporting three people killed. The storm should weaken further as it moves across land. Fingers crossed for everyone in its path.

hurricaneI was only ever in one hurricane, and I slept through it. The first I knew of it was when I got up, feeling very delicate, in the Atlanta Sheraton, and found a photocopied letter which had been slipped under the door. It said that the management were very sorry for the power cut in the night (I suppose they probably called it an “outage”) which was due to the hurricane.

I looked out the window, and it was a fine day with a blue sky and only a few wisps of cloud. There was something slightly strange about the cityscape though, and there were lots of blue flashing lights and I could hear sirens.

I remembered spending the evening in the hotel bar, because of the heavy rain, with a selection of colleagues from the very top ranks of the company. Now, I only remember one, Elizabeth H, who was a full director, but who also happened to be jaw-droppingly beautiful. Me, I was only a Vice-President; or Assistant Vice-President or something. The British half of the company tended to make fun of the high-blown American job titles. In British terms, I was probably something like assistant deputy under-manager. What I remember about Elizabeth, apart from her undeniable beauty, was that she didn’t seem very bright. The rumour in the company was that her job was to bring any bad news to the rest of the board. And make them smile while she told it.

Anyway, that evening was where I discovered the delights of Sam Adams’ ale, which is a very fine beverage. If you think American beers are all like Bud, give it a try.

The electricity was on in the hotel, so I made myself a coffee and left for work. The previous day, I’d been slightly peeved at not finding a parking space in the hotel’s main car park, and had had to go to the overflow park across the road. This morning, I could see that the main car park was under four feet of water. (That’s an American measure. I think it’s about 1.2m). My car was in the dry.

I drove North towards the office, having to go around fallen trees and traffic lights, but got to the destination without major trouble. Unfortunately, the colleague I’d come to see (I’d flown down from Washington DC the day before) was less lucky. A large falling tree had demolished her front porch and opened the front wall of the living room to the elements. She did make it into work, with her young daughter in tow (schools were out), but it wasn’t really a day for getting much work done.

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