Thursday, August 17, 2006


The porch and steps of a now absent house.

Last weekend, I took my parents on the destructo-tour. I've taken them on it before. They wanted to see what had changed since their last visit. I've taken many other people on it, too. And I regularly go on it by myself. It's not really one tour. It's many tours, many meandering paths through the 80 percent of our city that flooded. One can drive for hours, for days, and not see it all.

We all respond differently to This Thing That Happened To Us. I have friends who struggled at length before bringing themselves to take the tour. It was simply too painful. My reaction is the opposite. I tend to get jumpy, tend to feel weird and disconnected if it's been too long. (Of course, this is less of an issue now that my daily commute is something of a destructo-tour). Neither is better or worse. It's simply how we're built.* For me, understanding in detail the physical form of the damage helps me comprehend it on some other level. I recognize it as awful but also find it weirdly fascinating. It's like retracing the contours of a slowly healing wound, feeling the scar tissue, feeling what's changed, the new contours as each week and month go by.

Although I still don't get it yet. I guess I'll have to keep on taking those tours.

* There were times in the past year when I could quite happily rummage around our gutted, moldy house but could barely read the newspaper. There were times when Sarah felt the opposite.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:23 PM

    Thanks for the tour. I have been on it three times now and each time my reaction is the same--first I feel horror with the question of why. Then, I feel overwhelming sadness and finally(because I like neatness and order and am, by nature, a busy person)I want to jump out of the vehicle and immediately start cleaning up all the debris to make it nice again. Unfortunatlely, it is not that simple.