“Going To The Superdome.” I don’t know about you, but if that phrase doesn’t inspire a whole range of non-football connotations in your mind, then, I’m afraid you haven’t really been paying much attention to the world these past few years.
For me, a fellow who has little interest in professional sports, the Superdome brings to mind only one significant image, and that’s what it came to represent in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. (See ARL Terminology Page) And, having thought about it for all these years since, it’s also become a pretty important reference point both in how I define and live “my reasonable life”.
For me, the Superdome is now a pretty apt, if simple, metaphor for the whole urban/suburban culture that is shared by roughly 70% of this country’s population. At it’s best, it’s a great, if over-crowded, party with: bright lights, exciting entertainment, pre-packaged food, artificial turf, supervised and choreographed mayhem, dancing-girls.
At it’s worst, however, it’s just about the most dangerous, unpredictable, and unpleasant place on the planet. If it didn’t teach you anything about the advisability of building a city below sea-level, the whole Katrina experience should have taught you that, at the very least. But, to one extent or another, all cities are sitting in the floodplain. When things go badly, they go very badly.
I’d noticed at the time that the media wasn’t showing anything from inside the dome during the crisis. I thought that was a bit odd, until the rumors about rape, murder, and beatings started leaking out. Even today, the number of images from inside are very few and far between. Oddly, most that are available don’t really tell the story very well. They simply don’t match up with the personal stories from those who survived the experience.
What we do know, for sure, is that the feds stood guard inside and out and accomplished one thing only: they made absolutely certain that every potential victim that they admitted was disarmed. Good thinking there, Uncle. Then they, pretty much, stood back and let nature take it’s course.
To those who are really comfortable in their life in the city or the ‘burbs, I’m sort of glad you’re there. For one thing, it means you’re not out here in the country. And, truly, I do sort of understand some of the appeal…the conveniences, work opportunities and the like.
Of course, I’ve come to prefer the quieter pace of country life, the more intimate nature of the relationships it fosters, the more readily evident reminder of God’s handiwork in nature. Such a life fosters more introspection, patience, and a willingness to “make do” with less. Given enough time, those incessant itches to fill every empty moment with noise and business just sort of subside…sounds calming, don’t you think? But, hey, to each his own.
Still, don’t kid yourself. You’re living in the “Superdome” of our society. It’s really just that simple. And, brother, I gotta tell ya, that’s not where you want to be if the storm clouds on the horizon get much closer.