Phillip Gerard’s piece, “What They Didn’t Tell You About Hurricanes” really puts into perspective how differently the people who live in a place, see that place. There are so many little things that we don’t think about on a daily basis, that are so unique to our own neighborhoods.
Phillip Gerard talks about how much preparation goes into preparing for a Hurricane, how much is destroyed and some of the gruesome ways that people die. He talks about how everyone watches the weather channel and hopes the storm changes course and hits another town. Just the fact that he even talks about the aftermath–recovering from the damages done, something the newspapers rarely talk about in detail, really shows just how different places are to outsiders. The newspapers don’t convey the grief in the same way that townspeople would be able to. News people only talked about what happens to the town after the storm, and it’s only for a story. The people who lived in Gerard’s town had to fearfully live through the storms, not knowing what would happen next. People didn’t know how much of a hassle it was that the power had to go out. How long it took to get power back up. He tries to be very clinical and direct in how he describes hurricanes in his home town, but manages to convey the pain, fear, and loss that people feel when there is a hurricane. It isn’t until the very end that he reveals how hard it is to personally deal with natural disasters as a part of your life…how they can “break your heart.”
Gerard’s piece really made me think of things that are strictly unique to my hometown. Outsiders don’t know about the thumbs-up man. The thumbs-up man is this old man in my town that will give everyone a giant thumbs up and a big smile when he sees you. Everyone has that one thing that they know about their town that out-of-towners wouldn’t know. Kathleen Norris’s “Rain,” was an interesting read and managed to convey the same message as Gerard’s piece. Her descriptions of the rain are so detailed–as someone who is used to rain, I just take this stuff for granted. I think place makes such a big difference in the little behaviors of people. Someone from London might always have a raincoat or umbrella handy on a daily basis while a person from California would never think of these things.