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State of the Grave - One Month After Maria · 8:46pm Oct 23rd, 2017

Note: This is a continuation of sorts to my earlier post about Hurricane Maria, which you can find here.

So, where are we, one month later?

Well, everything still sucks, and seems to be hellbent on sucking for a long while yet. The problem is this: life has come to a complete standstill. We're alive, but we're not living. I think what's happening here is pretty hard to grasp from the outside; it's difficult to put in perspective how much life and society has changed. Think about it for a second: there's 3.4 million people, the great majority of which still have no electricity or means of communication (internet, cell phones, even landlines).

You can't look at this number and detach it from society; these aren't just people that can't get to their jobs, that can't go to school, that can't go shopping for necessities, that can't get to the bank to do business, that can't even go out and get something to eat.... These are also the employers, the teachers, the staff that run those places and services people can't get to or use.

It's not only that you have no power at home to keep your refrigerated food from spoiling, it's that neither do most places that serve food. It's not only that you can't call in to work because you have no signal on your phone or internet at your place... It's that your place of employ doesn't have phone lines or internet either, so it's not like they were gonna receive any messages of you checking in.

It's not only that it's a daily chore to get gas for your generator, if you're lucky enough to have gotten one before the storm... It's that most businesses, stores, restaurants, and other commercial establishments are facing the same dilemma.

Supermarkets and stores—if they have running generators, if they have fuel for them, if their staff are able to come in—are in a perpetual state of cleaned-out. Food? Water? Non-perishables? Batteries, flashlights, anything you would eat or use without electricity has been out of stock for weeks, and getting shipments in right now for restocking is a real hardship, whether you're a business or an individual.

You can bet your ass every shipping and freight company is making some serious, seeerious bank right now. Ordering a home generator via Amazon, for example, now incurs a shipping cost usually equal or above the price of the item. And forget about shipping portable batteries or battery banks! Lithium batteries need special Dangerous Goods permissions (and fees) to be flown in, something that most individuals aren't familiar with or, in most cases, can't secure.

The end result is that big stores and distributors that do have the means to ship Dangerous Goods abso-fuckin'-lutely gouge everyone to hell and back, if they actually have any stock—there's waiting lists. Why? Well, some people have been without power since Irma, at the start of September (yes, remember, there were two hurricanes); after 50 days without power, most people are pretty willing to spend anything, no matter how profound the metaphorical penetration is.

And everything I'm talking about is from the perspective of people living in the Metro Area, where the restoration efforts are strongest. I still have a house, a car, and something like 85% uptime on running water. There are hundreds of thousands without any of that. Think of the individual that is not earning a paycheck, because they have no place of employ to come back to. Think of the business that's been going on for more than a month without revenue.

Some schools are opening tomorrow, and we'll see how many students and teachers actually attend. There's an ever-present fear that a considerable amount of the workforce, not just for school but for every other part of society and industry, has already left for the mainland. There's many places that have already closed for good, leaving large swaths of unemployed workers behind. A number of manufacturers are already seriously considering leaving the island for good.

There's definitely movement, I'm not saying no one's helping or doing anything about it. I spent a Saturday watching the non-stop arrivals and departures of military and civilian aid helicopters and airplanes at a local airport. You see electrical brigade trucks everywhere. There's just so much devastation to fix and clean up, so many people without food or water... It feels slow, even if there's already many donations and many people aiding in restoration.

(And let's not even get into all the politicizing of every single issue, locally, and in the mainland!) But yes... It's tiring, and frustrating... So, let's talk about something lighter so as not to end on such a downer. So, before the storm, I may have been, ahem, having a fanfiction affair with another fandom.

My Little WitchLittle Witch Academia was fun as hell to watch, and not long after the show finished airing, I was compelled to ship, as the unrepentant trash that I am. If you want to take a look, I've got a couple of chapters in already on FF.net and AO3, and don't worry, I haven't abandoned Horsewords! Here's hoping I'll know once again the sweet caress of electricity at my house one day so that I can type away in peace, instead of having to sneak in little ponies and little witches at work!

Later, guys.

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Comments ( 6 )

At the very least, this'll make for an awesome novel that wins disproportionate amounts of rewards some day.

This kind of price gouging should be illegal. It gets frustrating to know Amazon is doing this, while they brag about how much they are helping to their employees.

I seriously doubt amazon really has control over the shipping prices outside the continental US. They’re a big deal, but there’s no way they own their own boats or planes on that scale.

They can put pressure on carriers, especially if the carriers are doing something unethical. I understand the Jones Act (something that strikes me as fairly unethical itself) can result in heavy shipping costs, but it should be waived by now.

Good luck, man. It's inadequate, I know, but it's all I can say.

Been keeping up with the progress here at least once a week. Seems like the rural north is having a harder time than most. Hopefully mother nature will continue to lay off for the rest of the hurricane season.

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