Imagine a place where little works the way it's supposed to, where transformers and stop lights hang from dangling wires like pinatas. Imagine having to endure a 45-minute slog just to travel three miles because the lights at every major intersection on your way are inoperable, and just getting through an intersection is an adventure. Imagine sharing the roads with a lot of (understandably) very frustrated and angry drivers. If you can imagine these things, you're probably somewhere in Houston right about now.
I'm spending most of my time on the west side of Houston, and the physical damage isn't nearly what it is in Seabrook, but there are areas here that got hit pretty hard. There are also people who want nothing more than to have electricity so they can get back to something approaching normal...especially with the forecast of warmer weather on the way. Oh, and that's the other thing...having been away from Houston for a year, I've been spoiled by Portland's temperate, dry weather. It hasn't been unreasonably warm here (yet), but the humidity is always there, and working outside can be draining if you're not used to the humidity. And I'm not.
I've seen a lot of things in three days that I never imagined I'd see, but I suppose that's the nature of having a hurricane blow the Hell out of the fourth-largest city in the nation. My favorite so far was the intersection I came to where the arm holding the stop light and the street sign had been blown into the other street, like the hour hand on a clock being moved from 12 to 3. Not only was a lot of damage done, there's a lot of repair work that needs to be done, and the Houston area is going to be putting itself together for weeks, and in some cases perhaps month.
All I'm trying to do is to play my bit part in this kabuki theather. It's nice to be able to put a smile on someone's face just by doing my job. No, I'm not curing cancer or finding the formula for world peace, but sometimes what feels like baby steps to me is anything but to someone trying to put their life back together.
Oh...and it could be worse. It may be another 7-10 days before residents of Galveston Island are allowed back over the causeway again...and even that's no guarantee. As bad as the damage I saw in Seabrook is, from what I've been hearing Galveston is an order of magnitude beyond that. I can't even imagine what islanders will find when they return home.
Now if I can just find a place to have breakfast....