People ask me if my mom’s place made it well through the storm. After a few days here, I’ll say this: it’s complicated. Key West was incredibly lucky: it was on the “good” side of the storm, no tornados came off the eyewall, the storm surge was far lower than Hurricane Wilma’s was. Our house had barely any structural damage. There is a *lot* of yardwork and cleanup to be done, starting with this four-foot pile of downed coconuts. So we’re lucky. And yet.
Even for those who emerged reasonably unscathed, there are big ungainly questions about the future. How long will the recovery take?Do you keep trying to build a business down here? How many times can you fortify, evacuate, wait, return, rebuild? Life in America is hard enough, paycheck to paycheck, one illness or insurance shortfall from ruin. The prospect of losing a month of your life to a big storm once every year or two would be daunting for anyone.
There is good news here, though. People came together after the storm—my mom’s neighbors were so goddamned neighborly to her before and after that I can hardly stand it. The building codes worked. Houses on stilts survived. We can build strong enough for any storm.
And the recovery has already started. I saw yokels on jetskis and goombahs strapped to parasails and doofuses riding their rental bikes the wrong way on North Roosevelt. I salute them all: they too are helping Key West get back to normal. Key West is coming back. We’re ready for your visit. #keywest #hurricaneirma #yokels #goombahs #doofuses #onehumanfamily