Watching the maps, the spaghetti models. They have it tearing across Tampa as a Cat 4. My niece, in Fort Lauderdale, is 8 months pregnant and apparently cannot leave. The other niece evacuated from St. Petersburg to Tallahassee. I guess they are my step-nieces, since they are from my sister’s husband’s previous marriage. Doesn’t really matter. I don’t think I’ve talked to either in 20 years, though we are FB friends. Doesn’t mean I can’t care. My sister is scared. I would be, too. She’s afraid the roof will come off, and also that the flimsy fence will crumple. I wonder what would become of dad’s old place in Daytona. They say the girth of the storm means it’s going to rape the whole peninsula. It is far wider than Andrew. Diane mentioned that sha has decent insurance. I was not going to ask about things like that, since it seemed like it might stoke more fear and anxiety if, for instance, she had zero insurance. She probably has no flood insurance, but I don’t think that subdivision ever flooded. It was a sore point among those who lived in a neighboring trailer park. Before building on it the developers of where we lived put down 2 or 3 feet of earth across the entire subdivision. So it floods all the surrounding areas. But Irma is not a big rain storm. It’s like Sandy in that way with lots of wind but relatively little rain. My high school friend in Fort Lauderdale is staying after lining his windows with steel shutters. I don’t remember ever seeing that preparation technique but it seems to be commonly done from what I saw on the news. Lonnie Quinn says this is the biggest weather event he has ever covered. And another hurricane is lined up right behind Irma.

It’s not funny but my sister’s husband’s mother is named Irma. She lives with them in that house. She is kind of crazy and I was strongly advised to stay away from her while I was there in March. I managed to do that. I swear that two or three times in the distant past I received calls from somebody looking for someone named Irma. I don’t think Irma has ever owed anybody anything but I suspect a collection agent connected my phone number to hers and was trying to get at her as a way to get at my sister and her husband, who have owed money in the past. But that’s long range conspiracy thinking.

An upshot of that 4am text storm with M. a few weeks ago is that I am in an email exchange with Sandra’s mother, or at least I think I am. She is from Miami and has more important things to think about just now. I remember her (Sandra’s mother) as saying she would never evacuate when a big hurricane came through many years ago. She said she’d die happy with a whiskey in her hand as the building came crashing down. I don’t expect much of this email correspondence but there’s no harm in it.

I did not drink today. I want this to be a long term thing. I want to be dry on my 50th. I don’t know why, because it makes no difference to my concentration or productivity. But it seems like a decent idea. Whatever decent means in this context. I’m also kind of tired of the new bartenders who had interested me before. I think they used to find me interesting but that I have become a tedious bore to them. One of them said he was surprised I do not smoke pot. He thought sure I was an all-day stoner. Something about my Charlie Brown shirts and talk of payphones had him thinking this.

Landfall in the Keys is Sunday at 2 or 3am. The Ernest Hemingway House, where I won a national short story contest in high school, will probably be gone. Someone on FB says they are staying in the Keys in a bunker. How can you even have a bunker in the Keys? This storm could swallow Florida whole.