Added to the worried text messages, the e-mails, and the Facebook updates – from friends who know we’re stranded down in 1770 – all getting really worked up over this monsoonal trough, the council of Gladstone have actually issued a weather warning.
Up until about 5 minutes ago, I had a very relaxed attitude to the rain clattering at my windows, to the palm trees waving their fronds hysterically, to the fact that the patio of our holiday apartment is completely underwater.
It’s a bit of rain. Okay – a lot of rain, but it’s just a lot of rain. What on earth is everyone getting so worked up about? Why is everyone worrying about us being stranded? Low level roads will flood, and then subside. If we can’t leave tomorrow, surely we’ll be okay to leave on Saturday? Why is everyone buying flour?
I never know if it is an Australian way to overreact to nature (sunblock, marine stingers, bug spray), or whether the hysteria is warranted, and I should be paying attention.
A lot of rain doesn’t seem like an emergency to me at all. We’re hardly likely to be cut off for weeks without water or food. In my view, instead of helping, the official issuing of a warning causes more panic, because instead of reading it as a common sense set of precautions, everyone’s stormed Woolworths, and apparently the shelves are emptying and all the Gladstone housewives are on their phones telling each other to get to the shops before the long life milk runs out. We are a port town. We’re hardly cut off from emergency supplies if things really get rough.
I’ve told everyone I know to break into my house in Gladstone if things get tight on the supplies side. We still have enough long-life milk and tuna to feed the 5000 – since my husband’s panic about a year ago when he bought a whole bunch of “essentials” in case of a cyclone.
In a way, I’ve been hoping for some kind of emergency, because then we’ll finally be forced to empty out our pantry (Unlike Johannesburg, there are no homeless hungry folks coming door to door asking for food in Gladstone).
I’ve been hoping we’ll be forced into a situation where I finally get to use the powdered milk I’ve had for a year. Or the water bottles I’ve got stored in case of emergencies – which one has to rotate regularly because they have a “use by date”.
Now – finally – a real possibility of a flood (which, i must stress again, only means we don’t get our Woolworths deliveries from Brisbane because the roads are closed for a day or two until the waters drop), and I am cut off from my pantry. Oh the irony.
I hope I’m right in my laid back approach to “official weather warnings”. As I type this it has occurred to me that things I once thought over the top, like SPF factor 3000 sunscreen and bug spray are now part of my daily routine. I hope I come through my first experience of Australia’s extreme weather unscathed, and that next time there’s a weather warning I am not amongst my neighbours, frantically buying flour