"What I want is what I've not got. And what I neeeeeeeeed is all around me."
from the song, "Jimi Thing" by Dave Matthews Band.
I heard on the news a reporter say to imagine the hurt or disappointment one feels when they lose a treasured possession. Now take that feeling and multiply it by about one million and that's what it might feel to be in the shoes of these refugees from New Orleans, who can't even get back to their homes, that is if they have a home to go back to.
One week before Katrina hit New Orleans and turned the Gulf Coast upside-down my computer room, my classroom, and my car were turned upside-down. Or, rather, I turned every place upside-down trying to find my precious iPod. This was a birthday present from my wife last May and it had become my most prized possession. This is saying a lot, also, because I've always been one not to put too much stock in material things. Maybe it was my upbringing, maybe it was the fact that, as my 4th grade teacher put it, "I'd lose my butt if it weren't screwed on." I could have been that I had two brothers and much of our "stuff" got distroyed. Even the stuff we really liked. So to be so attached to my iPod was a big deal. It was probably the best gift I'd ever been given. And I couldn't find it anywhere.
I had told myself that I wouldn't bring it to school because I realized how easy it would be to steal. I'd had things stolen before and I didn't want to chance it. But, I had a lesson that involved playing music and it seemed like the perfect thing to use. Portable, quick, no muss, no fuss. So as I'm leaving in the morning I stuff it into my messenger bag. This is the last time I saw it. I was running late and so as I entered the classroom I immediately began getting ready for the students to arrive. This is where it gets fuzzy. I don't remember taking the iPod out of my bag, and I don't know why I would have, but class started and I didn't think about it again until later that day when I was to use it. I dug through my bag, but it wasn't there. I had to scratch the lesson, and go with a modified version. After school I checked my car. I went home and looked all over my house. I went back to school and about dumped my entire desk out in search of the iPod. It was clear that it had been stolen and, despite police reports and asking students to keep an eye out, it was gone. My wife and I were both crushed.
Now I think think that I'm a douchebag. My cousin Marcy may not have a house, her job is questionable and anything in her house, if it's still there, is probably ruined. $200 will buy me another iPod, but what if my photos were distroyed? What if the plays that I'd spent so much time writing and pouring over were gone because a flood destroyed the hardrive on my computer? (Yes, I know, I need to back up.) These things are much more important than an iPod. Some people lost their lives. Why are our flags not at half mast?
We did not go to the shelter like I thought. Instead I went to The Harbor, a church/coffee shop/arts venue that is run by some friends. They were serving dinner to some of the evacuees held up in Baytown hotels. The shelters were pretty muched staffed, but like myself, many people wanted to help out and serve in some way. Nelda and Randy Haney have hearts of gold and I'm so glad I know them. It was humbling to say the least to speak with people who have been displaced to a new, temporary home. People who don't know the state of their real homes. The children seemed scared and tired. The adults still seemed in shock, but were careful to be strong for the kids. No one smiled much. I think that was Randy and Nelda's goal in having them their: to give these people who'd suffered so much a cause to smile and maybe enjoy something for the first time in a week. Unfortunately, I think most of them just needed some food, some supplies, and then wanted to rest. Not many people stayed for long.
New Orleans residents are just now being allowed back into their neighborhoods to check on their belongings, but they can't stay. I don't blame all the people who say they aren't going back. I would not be able to just sit and not try to move on with my life. Amanda and I are lucky enough that we would be able to stay with family. Heck, we'd probably just move if we didn't know when we'd be able to go back.
I don't know how to end this post. I hate just ending it, but I guess I'll just end it with a quote from someone smarter than me, which won't be difficult to find.
As there is no worldly gain without some loss so there is no worldly loss without some gain.