Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricane Felix (1995)

It is 2:30 in the morning and I am up watching CNN's coverage of Hurricane Ike. I have an odd fascination with hurricanes. I certainly don't like to see anyone harmed, but I will always watch as much hurricane coverage as I can.

My hurricane fascination started in August of 1995, when I went to my 3 week PFSP program at the EVMS, Hurricane Felix was forming and moving across the Atlantic. During the 2nd week of the program, the hurricane's projected path had it hitting Virginia Beach. There was serious concern that downtown Norfolk would be flooded. The other patients in the program were completely freaked out and ready to leave town. I told everyone it took me too long to get there, and I was not about to leave. Somehow that argument convinced everyone else to stay.

The day before Felix was due to hit, Norfolk looked like a ghost town by sundown. Virginia Beach had been evacuated and many Norfolkians had left the area as well. After dinner that evening, and a few frosty cold adult beverages, me and 2 other patients in the program came up with the idea that we should drive out to Virginia Beach. After making the short drive out there and rearranging some police tape; we parked the car and headed out to the beach.

The sight on the beach was definitely worth the trip. The sky was pitch black dark and the waves were huge. We were having a great time taking pictures when we were interrupted by the fine officers of the Virginia Beach police force. This was early in the 2nd week of therapy, and away from the clinic, we were still using the disfluent speech patterns we had arrived in Norfolk with. The police started asking us why we were there when all 3 of us started answering in a constant barrage of stuttered speech. After a few minutes of this, the police officer seemed relieved to let us walk back to our car with a warning and the promise that we would leave VBC and head back to Norfolk.

The next day Felix stalled in the Atlantic before heading up the coast to the northeast (possibly to do some whale watching in Maine). We ended up only missing 1 day of therapy in the clinic.

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