Thursday, November 10, 2011

Flood Stories

I have had a long hiatus from my blog.

The Summer of Disasters interfered.

I started the year in survival mode. Instructions to my interstate visitors: “Make sure your kids know how to wash their hands in a bucket so they don’t get sick. “ My life reduced to this basic hygiene.

The electricity came back and we saw our business in Rocklea under water.  We couldn’t get there for days.  So started the months of rebuilding.

I return to work, 12 hour shifts doing  Community Recovery.  To me, every application for help is a real person, not a pile of paper.  I have nightmares about losing applications.  I am living, breathing and sleeping disaster.

I come to crave normal.  I am told not to expect normal.  I am told I will find a “new” normal.  I wanted the new normal.  I wanted to do regular grocery shopping.  I want cooking and cleaning to be a normal inconvenience, not an alien activity sometime after I have remembered to brush my teeth after I eat rather than before.

People, somewhere out there, other “unaffected” people wondered why we keep harping on, keeping telling our stories, keep talking nothing but flooding and lack of warning and please pick up our rubbish and when will our grant money come through and insurance company has become a swear word.  A seemingly intelligent man said to me, they just need to get over it.  I was stunned into silence.  Would it be appropriate to punch him?

This is what I have learned.

During the chaos, and sometime afterwards, people need to, I mean really deeply need in the way they need water, to feel like they are helping.

A community with leadership is a healthy community.  But then the rifts will happen.  It is inevitable.

Never, ever, start a conversation in this town without first asking, “How did do you with the floods?”  Under people’s skin is still wet with silty mud. And sometimes sewerage.

I have learned to accept hugs from strangers.

I have other’s stories tattooed into my being.  I am living my story.  I sometimes wonder will I ever live any other story.
I have learned that eleven months isn't long enough to stop me being angry.

But I have found a normal.

1 comment:

S R Gurtner said...

I remember during the floods half our staff couldn't get to the airport to work so we were dragging people in from everywhere on overtime. Still the queues were massive. Most of the international passengers were very sympathetic but I remember one business traveller ranting and raving about how long he had to wait in line. I said to him that we were in a middle of a natural disaster. His reply was, that it shouldn't matter!