For those of you who don’t read the news (like me) but don’t have husbands who keep you reasonably informed, let me share some headlines. One of BP’s many offshore oil wells is spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico, round about– Oh! Well, round about really fucking close. So close that when they had the bright idea to try burning some of it off a few days ago, we could smell it. Either that or all the red-necks in Mississippi were burning their trash.
Ahhh, there’s nothing like the smell of burning tar-balls in the morning.
I’m sorry to take a sardonic tack, but this just seems a little too familiar. You may remember we moved here from Cordova, Alaska. Google “Cordova” and “oil spill,” and just see what you come up with, just you see… Okay, I can’t wait. I’ll tell you. 1989, a community practically decimated by the biggest fucking oil spill in the United States.
Neither of us were in Cordova at the time (I was 12, in Anchorage) but the town is still all tangled up in the memory of it. And the legal battle, which raged for 20 (yes twenty) years. The battle in which the devastated fishermen and their community attempted to gain some reasonable kind of compensation for their loss. And in the end more or less failed in a David vs. Goliath meets Real Life story.
So, it harked a little familiar when the cover-ups and lies started spewing as fast as the oil, all the way at the other end of the continent, in our temporary homeland of Louisiana. First, there was an oil leak. Ok. Big deal. Then, turns out it was a pretty big leak. Then, okay, maybe there’s actually 1,000 barrels a day pouring into the Gulf. Oh, wait, did we say 1,000? Well, it’s hard to know exactly. Maybe it could actually be 5,000.
Er, well, there’s really no way of knowing. And oh, whoops, looks like the slick just tripled in size overnight.
And, ummm…. Are you ready for the bad news? We don’t know how to turn it off. Guess we’ll just have to wait 6-8 weeks, like a fucking book order.
While all the red-necks and tourists in Mississippi stood on the beach, waiting for the oil to reach their “sugar sand” My Man and I came to a sudden and pivotal realization.
We can’t leave.
Here I was, literally packing up all our acquired crap to stuff into closets, taking pictures to advertise for subletters, tickets in hand, job awaiting, ready to leave for Cordova on May 12th. On Thursday, in the midst of packing boxes and My Man studying for his finals, he brought me up to date on the spill, and said a bit wistfully, “It’ll be a little hard to leave with all this going on….”
That’s all he said, but it sat in my stomach the rest of the day, fermenting into an unlikely brew. I am not a spontaneous person. I am a planner. And things were all planned out.
Sometimes life looks you in the eye, and says,
“Get it together, you little shit.”
And I couldn’t avoid her squinty Evil Eye. I couldn’t avoid putting the pieces together.
My Man is in school for environmental and maritime law. He has been working with laws in a non-lawyer capacity for years, trying to get the bastards in charge to even just follow their own weak rules. He’s done a ton of work on oil issues in Alaska. He followed closely the legal battle against Exxon for the Valdez spill, and I know it’s part of what motivated him to go to law school to begin with.
And here we happen to be, smack dab in the middle of what looks like it’s gonna take Cordova back off the map. 11 million gallons? Pshaw! We spit on your 11 million gallons!
So, friends. Looks like I’ll be hangin’ around in the wicked heat, crushing humidity, and burning tar-ball fumes awhile longer. Look forward to more unrelenting sarcasm, and maybe some tips on how to cook dinner without sparking a flame.