Monday, March 14, 2011

Act of God*

While shooting the show in August 1992, the Florida Keys were under a Hurricane warning and cast and crew of 'Key West' (at least those that had sense) were hurriedly evacuated. Hurricane Andrew ultimately missed the island itself but the hurricane hit Homestead, Florida (150 miles north of the small island) and southwest Louisiana, killing 61, injuring 10,375 and causing over 1 billion dollars in damages. It was a devastating event for the modern U.S. shoreline (that is until Hurricane Katrina taught us a new level of devastation) and as few as 10 years ago, the gateway to the Keys was still recuperating from the battering they took in the wee hours on the 24th of August. The event was so moving to the writers of the show that it was quickly written into the show's first season allowing their characters to move through the drama they'd personally experienced.

At the epicenter of our drama, Seamus, our New Jersey hero, is excited about the possibility of a little excitement on the island when news of the hurricane is first broadcast. He dons toga and "garland" (really just a scarf of some sort) and parties his way around the island until the seriousness of the situation begins to sink in. Maybe it was time to leave, he waffles as he frantically searches for his clothes. What's your panic, man? His Rastafarian friend soothes him, it's just a little wind. His emotions are tossed like the waves... should he go?... should he stay? Hemingway would stay to experience the full gamut of emotions and life. Yes, but Tennessee Williams wold go and start on his next play. In a final attempt to evacuate he finds that he has waited too long and he is forced to wait out the storm in the ramshackle bar known as Gumbos with the rest of the islanders. As he sits in the candlelit room, surrounded by frightened and worried friends listening to the quiet pluckings of the nearby guitar, he ponders the mystery of nature, of death... of life, 

"That was the night I learned about my mortality. I looked around and realized that everyone in the room was going to die. Just maybe not tonight...but I did learn that we are all always at the station. And the trains are always leaving."    

 (To listen to the song and the final moments of this moving segment of the show, click on the picture to go to my Tumblr blog where audio of the show's final moments are posted.)

*I am an atheist. I do not believe that there is a god who had any hand in the events in Japan or in any other naturally occurring events in the world. While those who believe in god(s) would say that of course god would have no hand in any event like this, these same believers give that deity in the sky  credit when good things happen which is a nonsequitur to me (this was not always true- I grew to that understanding. I am not a knee-jerk atheist). I am no more prone to give a higher power credit for good things than I am to blame a higher power for the bad so the title of the post may be deceptive but the 'Key West' episode my quote is taken from this week has this title... thus, it is named.


  1. I too am an atheist, or closer to agnostic maybe - don't know, don't care kind of gal over here :D

    Anyway, it's nice to meet others of similar mindset because I find it rather rare lately ;)

    I hadn't heard about this Florida disaster, sounds like it was pretty awful.

  2. I lived in Delray Beach Florida that year. About fifty miles north of Miami .... let me tell you it is something I NEVER will forget.

    Even there damage was evident. Many trees down, flooding, no electricity for days. We couldn't move our cars because of all the trees down in our parking lot.

    We also helped the authorities send food, tp, water, anything to help.

    I had been in three other milder hurricanes and that is one of the major reasons I moved from Florida.


  3. Trisha: Hi Glad you stopped by and it is nice to meet someone of similar mindset!!

    Michael: That had to be very frightening! I spoke to people who went through that hurricane and they spoke about how scary it was in Key West even though it didn't hit the island directly. I can understand why you moved! It's no small thing to live through that many hurricanes!

    It is one thing that I think about living here-- there are not too many major disasters I have to worry about... not too many tornadoes (although some!), no earthquakes, no tsunamis, etc. And I don't live in the mountains because of the possibility of fires, floods, landslides, and horrible blizzards and deep snow. So in Denver we mostly just deal with, then occasional massive blizzard, terrible traffic and icy roads in the winter (Unless the Super Volcano at Yellowstone blows, in which case, all of us in the midwest are all probably toast.).

  4. I guess all too many Japanese are facing their mortality.

  5. Thanks, Danette, for your timely comments just now on my recent post.

    Choices DO have consequences. EVERY choice, good or not so good, has a consequence. Like, yeah, building nuclear reactions on a fault line! Somehow we humans have a tendency to think it won't happen to us. Sigh.

    Yes, I'm sad about my brother's passing. And yes, I agree we do need more than hope. Though I think hope is one essential element in propelling us to action. There are things that are important for me to hope for to help me get through this life.

    Thanks for writing your thoughts that prompt me to reflect about my own views of mortality, and immortality.

    I "hope" you're having a good day!

  6. Lady Fi: Sadly... too true.

    Hi Ann: Perhaps the hope is that that we humans ARE capable of doing something differently in some things and that we will rise up tomorrow do better... maybe? That is life lived in hope- to me. I despair when I hear talk of continuing on with business as usual without even doing inspections of our nuclear facilities- but I have more hope than before that the national conscience has been raised. And I hope that more people will push for some changes just as people finally rose up in Wisconsin to push back against policies that are anti-worker. (It takes a lot of discomfort for people to change though.)

    But we are all in this together and we all need to work together to prevent more disasters. There are different things we can actually do but I'll save that for a blog post.

    living in hope that things will change I guess!

  7. Hi Danette, this world is SO much bigger than all of us, I'm not sure what to believe in, after living in Japan for 6 years I became more attuned to their views on life. It's hard to believe there is a higher power when so many disasters happen but I think that is nature at work, always changing our environment and us.

    I have an award for you on my blog today, please do pop by to collect when you can. And, Happy Friday!! x

  8. Talei: Nature is of course at work. Unfortunately we have too heavy a hand in influencing how nature is behaving and when we place nuclear facilities in places where there is sure to be earthquakes and possible tsunamis then, it seems to me, we make things worse. All over the world we have made hurricanes and earthquakes worse by erosion, getting of swamps and shallow waters or by over populating areas that are subject to earthquake. It's going to be a terrible thing when a big one like the one that hit Japan hits California-- the houses sit on the edges of cliffs and there are so many people and highways...

    Jules: The link for the song is the second picture or at the right hand side of my page you will see "Other blogs where you'll find me..." and click on 'Key West'.


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