Harvey, social media and getting real

It’s Day 3: I’m sitting in my island of a home waiting out #Harvey.

I’m one of the very lucky ones. I still have power, potable water and a working Netflix account.

But I’m movied out and reduced to organizing my closet.

On Day 1, I packed my evacuation bags: insurance, check; passport, check; undies, check.

On Day 2, cooked all the meat in my freezer. Made spaghetti. Did my mending, which I have been putting off for years.

On Day 3, what am I doing? What I’ve done from the beginning. Working my social media.

It is so ingrained in my life, I don’t even think about it anymore. See a beautiful sunset? Instagram it. Going to the movies? Check in with my Facebook New Yorker Movie Club Group. Hear something funny? Text my family on Message. My cousin in New Mexico is worried about me so we Facebook Messenger a video chat.

Now mind you, I haven’t posted on this blog for years. Politics, competitiveness and job security were factors in this decision. Greg and Toby have done a great job of steering this ship.

Me, I’m more behind the scenes. Always have been.

But today, with the ever looming #Harvey, much like Jimmy Stewart, I feel compelled to introduce you to my invisible side.

I’ve lived in Houston for longer than I care to admit. Born in New Mexico but raised in Ohio, I didn’t come here until I was 14. And I hated it. With too many mini Farrah Fawcetts in my very tony high school, I and my flannel shirts definitely did not fit in.

After spending some time in London several years ago, I’ve come to finally appreciate the urban sprawl of Houston. Yes, it’s swampy hot; yes, there are spaghetti bowls of traffic; yes, people are everywhere. But because of its very big-ness, the expansiveness makes us, well, expansive.

Today, on Day 3, I’m reading social media and crying. Crying for a city with a big heart and open doors. Crying for a city that has seen too many tears today. Crying for people who are sitting on top of counters who are grateful for their counters.

Don’t tell me that social media is ruining our children. Don’t tell me that social media is evil. Don’t tell me social media is a waste of time.

I’ve seen it in action, over and over again. Sending evacuation information, cautioning about scams, connecting those who are abandoned. Every organization, big and small, is using social media to communicate with this community.

So don’t talk to me about how technology is failing our culture and ending civilization.

If anything, it is exposing the true heart of our country.