Online UpdateThe Fun We Have With a Beast at the Door

Crimson White Managing Editor

I knew Hurricane Katrina was going to be a blast when it almost blew me off my feet.

I was hiking up McCorvey Drive from the Ferguson Center parking deck to the Riverside complex in the rain Monday after storing my car away when I was assaulted by as by a wall of white.

It was as if God himself were violently trying to push me off the sidewalk, or at least away from my home. By the time I’d somehow trudged back to Riverside East, I was drenched and the wind had bloomed my massive umbrella into a blue and white buttercup.

It was cold, wet, bitter and a hell of a lot of fun.

In slightly fairer conditions and after posting hurricane updates to the Crimson White Web site, I would stroll through the Riverside courtyard, where patio furniture was relocated to the bottom of our days-old pool for anyone who wanted to lounge under two feet of water.

When the lights went out as the daylight faded, I watched bursts of blue-green beauty caused by exploding transformers from the window in the building’s second-floor lobby.

My head’s still sore from the licks I took in a game I played in total darkness in some friends’ room that was a combination of hide-n-go-seek, Marco Polo and full-fledged assault with pillows and other supposedly soft objects.

My mother called me sometime after 8 p.m. and made me promise her I wouldn’t go outside until the next morning. I broke that promise about an hour and a half later when I trekked to the 24 Hour Diner in Paty Hall for food with friends after our lights came back on.

In all, it was the most fun I’ve had in one night in a while, and I woke up fairly content – head throbbing – at 6:30 Tuesday morning to post an update to The CW’s Web site about class cancellation. After finishing, I clicked around the Web to apprise what was going on since my cable was still out.

What I found was a picture that shook my soul: an Associated Press photo of a mennonite boy struggling to bike through a road flooded by Katrina – in Kentucky. A sinking sign to his right points toward Little River Church of Christ.

It put Katrina’s scope and tragedy in perspective: the thousands huddled in a musky Louisiana Superdome, the reports of bodies floating through New Orleans’ streets, the dozens killed as their apartment complex collapsed in Mississippi.

The guilt was overwhelming. It felt like being kicked in the gut by a dead man – instant humility at its finest.

With the safety, comfort and communication Americans have, it’s easy for people – especially occasionally storm-chasing, adrenaline-hungry reporters like myself – to get caught up in the surreality of these big, wrathful disasters.

The reality is that disasters like Katrina aren’t just all-too-real tragedies, they’re reminders to make the best of the time you have – whatever you feel that means – because the world can flip itself or end you at any moment.

Nick Beadle is managing editor for news of The Crimson White. This is a special edition of his column, which regularly appears on Mondays.