Friday, September 24, 2004

What's new

My first post talked about fleeing Hurricane Ivan, and these blog thingies are supposed to be about sharing your life, your opinions, whatever you like, as much as you're comfortable with.

I started out with us fleeing the moment we heard on TV that state and city states of emergency had been declared. I work at a state agency, though at the moment I won't say which. The day before the evacuation I discussed my concerns with my supervisors, that I might feel bound to leave as soon as those emergencies were declared, and that that might be a bit before they would really like me to. I was responsible, after all, not just for our dog but for a 71-year-old man with a history of heart disease and restrictions on his ability to drive. Sure, I'd been a loyal employee for ten years, and that was important, but he and I have been together for twenty-eight, which kinda trumps that card.

When we heard that Tuesday morning that emergency had been declared and we were being urged to leave, it didn't occur to me that the mayor's office would not be co-ordinating with the governor's office. Or that the governor would require state employees and their families to remain in place for four hours in the face of an evacuation order, releasing them at noon.

I knew none of this, as we were already on the road. I kept in touch with my supervisor as best I could by cell phone in the following days, and he warned me that the top levels were pretty pissed off with me. So I was prepared to face anger, letters of reprimand, disciplinary action. I was not prepared to find out they wanted to fire me.

That was a shock, one I have been slowly absorbing in the two days since the head of the agency's letter arrived. I of course have replied, with a certified letter giving my side of the story and disputing facts or characterizations of his I think are in error. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't.

Things like this make you think new thoughts, and they force reassessments of things you had thought were settled. For example, if they back down and say, you can come back, how much do I want to go?

There's a wonderful blues recording by Bessie Smith, and most of it is fairly standard blues lamenting. My man's done left me, found somebody new, left me all alone in this cold and empty bed, and so forth. But then she throws a twist into it at the last moment, with the last two lines before the end of the song, sung with a sort of ice-cold anger: "But if he can stand to leave me / I can stand to see him go."

I'm beginning to understand that.

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