Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Lost Summer of 2021: The Last Day


Sun setting on the last day of the Lost Summer of 2021. Mobile, Alabama. August 2021. Credit: Mzuriana.
Sun setting on the last day of the Lost Summer of 2021. Alternative title: A Dirty Window. Mobile, Alabama. August 2021. Credit: Mzuriana.

I departed the Budget Inn in Monroe, Louisiana, a little after 8:00 a.m. on this Lost Summer morning, August 31, 2021.

Below is a narrative of my experience at this motel, sent to my Houston friend: 

"Fortunately, I have a battery-operated camp lantern with me - I used it last night as a bedside light when I discovered that the can light up in the ceiling between the two beds had not been installed - so to have light, one must walk over to door to turn on or off the ceiling light.

"Fortunately, the motel owners replaced the non-functioning refrigerator in my room yesterday evening with a new one.

"Fortunately, I have an ample supply of plastic grocery bags to use for my trash collection, as there is no wastebasket in the room.


"This ain't the Motel 6 in Junction here."

En route between Monroe and Mobile, I stopped at: 
  • Big Top Travel Center and Casino in Delhi, Louisiana. 
  • Mississippi Welcome Center
  • Kroger's in Clinton, Mississippi (I have a nostalgic fondness for Kroger for its connection to my childhood family and for my maternal grandmother's neighborhood Kroger ... plus its Carbmaster yogurt)
  • Circle K outside Collins, Mississippi (I like Circle K for its economically-priced fountain sodas)
  • Another Circle K, this one in Beaumont, Mississippi
  • A motel in Lucedale, Mississippi, around 2-ish in the afternoon, but was only there briefly before pressing on toward Mobile.

Because I'm reconstructing my Lost Summer a year later, I am relying on my Google Maps timeline, my phone call history, and emails that I sent that day. 

Hurricane Ida

Until I re-read an email to my Houston friend on this and the preceding days in 2021, I had completely forgotten about Hurricane Ida, and the resulting exodus of folks in its path. Which resulted in fully-occupied motels and campgrounds hither and yon in precisely the areas of my travel on this day. 

It stuns me how easily I could forget an event so enormous that it temporarily displaced thousands of people. A storm so immense in its ferocity that it was second only to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. An event so massive that my Houston friend and I referenced it in our emails for days leading up to the event because I was headed toward its outer circles. 

Can I attribute this lapse to the fact that it was just one more Very Bad Layer of Bad Stuff on an already tottering tower of Very Bad Things that have accreted atop our mental warehouse floor since November 2016? And COVID .... always COVID.

I wish I could blame the above, but I don't think that's truthful.

I think it's because when a bad thing doesn't affect us directly, it is oh, so much easier for it to slip away from our brains. Or we feel helpless to do anything about it, so although it may distress us when the news of the thing is in front of us every day, we let it drift down to our mental basement as it fades, as well, from our newsfeeds. 

I'm not happy that Hurricane Ida blew away from my brain pan in such short order. 

But getting back to the last day of my Lost Summer of 2021:

Here is what I reported to my Houston friend: 

I'm in my new apartment! There were no motel rooms in or around mobile and I asked my landlord if I could just move in early, and she said yes!

I have a beautiful sunset outside my living room / office / bedroom window!

No comments: