Friday, September 02, 2011

After the Rain

Hurricane 0, Megan 1. We survived with a small amount of water on the property and are grateful not have to have been evacuated from our home via motorboat like the holdouts we saw on Action News.

With all the preparation and cleanup happening this weekend, I couldn’t help but reminisce on my last major hurricane experience. I was living in Washington, DC, working at my First Big Job at Smithsonian, responsible for the Institution’s young professional membership program. The group’s annual fundraiser was (and to my knowledge, still is) a black tie gala inside a museum.
Isabel was coming, whether we liked it or not, and if I recall correctly, she hit early in the week – Monday or Tuesday. Our gala, naturally, was the following Saturday night. Everything in the city was a wreck. Metro was operating only on certain tracks to certain stations. Buildings were closed. Power was out to thousands of city residents. Many people lost their homes to flooding, winds or both. We returned to work and had to decide whether to have this silly black tie gala.

We agonized. Should we refund tickets? Reschedule the event for another day? Forfeit our deposit on the caterer (Cap City Brewing) and band (Gonzo's Nose)? I lost sleep. I argued with co-workers and volunteers and unhappy patrons who demanded refunds. Despite the fact that our organization's executive director (pictured below, second from right) did not have power at her home and was forced to shower at the gym for weeks, and everything else in the city seemed to be cancelled, we figured we had more to lose by cancelling, so the show went on. The venue had power and all of our vendors were ready to go.

I can't say it was perfect (the T-shirts didn't make it - they were on a flooded loading dock somewhere), but it was an awesome party. Everyone needed a reason to celebrate and get out of the house. I danced to cover tunes in my ball gown and sneakers. I collected money at the silent auction. I broke up a couple making out inside one of the exhibits. It was a success.

For old time's sake, here's a photo of aforementioned boss lady and the volunteer board members of the organization getting a kick out of my emotional response to the check presentation ($100,000 - not too shabby for a rainy day). Hope everyone is safe and dry.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9/06/2011

    Nice story! People need a reason to celebrate after a traumatic event.