Friday, September 16, 2005

Why I'm Going Back

Next Wednesday, September 21st, I'm going to drive back down to New Orleans. If anyone would like a ride email me. The water is still in our neighborhood, especially around Banks Street and Jesuit, but I've been told our street and house are no longer flooded.

I am going absolutely crazy here in Omaha, and am so tired of talking about the hurricane and politics. I would honestly rather shovel toxic sludge out of our house. I'm also worried about my daughter's sugar glider, Oot, who is locked up in her room. I want to hand out water and see if I can't help out in our neighborhood. I'm also planning on adopting a dog. Therese has requested that it be a small one.

I'm also suffering from a roller coaster of emotions ranging from anger to anxiety to depression. I am very afraid that students won't go back to Xavier, and that with a reduced enrollment they will fire pre-tenured faculty such as myself. I am considering applying for other jobs. The University of Nebraska at Omaha, my alma mater, has graciously offered me the chance to teach four courses in the Spring, and I have to decide fairly soon about that. I know that Xavier is for the moment planning on opening in January, but that sounds pretty optimistic. I know that Therese does not want to pull the kids out of school until the academic year is over. I am an anal retentive person who needs his future mapped out, and now the future of my family seems so damn chaotic.

And, my colleague Mark Gstohl is in New Orleans now. He told me this evening of horror stories still with FEMA and the Red Cross. He said there were hundreds of people standing outside all day, and some had returned there three days, trying to get registered with FEMA. They had three employees registering people. He gave the people in line bottled water, which was great of him. And at the Red Cross he said they were turning people away telling them to call a 1-800 number, the same one that he had unsuccessfully tried for five days straight. He said a Vietnamese family of 10 were having a hard time understanding what they were supposed to do with this number. Mark said he gave them all the money in his wallet and said a prayer for them. I think they should head back to Vietnam where they'll get more care from their government. Anyway, I know that is hyperbole, but Mark was very upset when I spoke with him, and I promised I'd relay his story. Mark also said that he is sick of people saying "we're OK because at least we have our lives." Mark says that is not OK, because life sure sucks right now, and I have to agree with him.

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