Dear Dr. Babooner,
My brother, his wife and their two snotty kids are coming to stay with us for the weekend and maybe longer – refugees from their home in lower Manhattan.
They never miss an opportunity to tell us how wonderful and cosmopolitan it is to live in the heart of one of the world’s biggest cities, about all the restaurants they have down there, the transit, the music, the pulse and the pace and the privileges of having everything close at hand.
Wherever we like to go, they’ve been someplace nicer. Whatever we prefer to eat, they’re used to something better. However we decide to entertain ourselves, they’ve seen, heard or done something more interesting.
But now they and at least 369,999 others have been ordered to evacuate from low-lying areas of New York City. The transit system will shut down, and they’re coming to live with us in New Jersey.
Oh, and by the way, the storm is coming here too.
They say the system is so massive and full of moisture that the greatest danger will be from flooding. And it is possible that the wind will push over trees that can’t stand upright in the sodden ground, taking down power lines and causing widespread blackouts.
What’s worse, all the major league games have been cancelled.
Great. My brother’s family in the house, and we can’t even ignore each other by watching sports on TV. I’ll have to sit there and see their ugly mugs in high-def AND 3-D!
Dr. Babooner, I know I don’t have a choice because they’re family and they’ve been forced out of their home, but how can I survive the triple stresses of these obnoxious visitors, a hurricane AND a blackout?
First off, Dr. Babooner doesn’t appreciate “ugly mug” references. Take a good look at Dr. Babooner herself! I’ve made my portrait unusually large today to mirror the size and intensity of Hurricane Irene. I believe you can grow to love any face, given time and a positive attitude. And a positive attitude is certainly lacking in this scenario. Storm Victim, you should try to look on the bright side of all the disruption, damage and despair that is about to descend on your extended family. Fallen trees and power outages are permanent memory-makers! Our typical day-to-day dealings quickly fade into the background and are eventually forgotten. Even people who are accustomed to a higher-than-usual lifestyle come to find the luxurious details of their lives rather dreary. By contrast, the weekend you are about to spend, staring at your brother and his family in the dim candlelight as an 80-mile per hour wind tries to tear the roof off your house, is one that you’ll never forget. Enhance the memories by creating keepsakes. Plan an art project everyone can work on – something that involves torn chunks of asphalt shingles, ceiling insulation and wax drippings!
But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?