Thursday, January 4, 2018

Short Social Fiction: Adventures of Tupi 28

Tupi woke up the next day. The airport was still closed, but scheduled to reopen in 48 hours. Tupi help to clean up the area around the house and was still a little in awe at what happened. Tupi felt very fortunate that nothing had happened to him, and Justin's house seemed fine and he had power from his generator and the gas lines still worked. Tupi could still have LTE signal and can connect to the internet.

Justin and Tupi went to the shelter again. There were significantly more people now. It was lunch time and everyone was queuing up for food. Tupi met some new people and went to talk to an old couple. "Hi, Crazy storm huh..." Tupi said. "How is your home? Was it damaged?"

"My garage and shed was destroyed by a tree, otherwise ok." The old man said.

"That's good." Tupi said. "As long as you are safe. Are you helping out?"

"No, we ran out of food." The old man said. "I don't drive anymore and just buy groceries for a few days. Went to the supermarket near by and everything was gone by the afternoon. Its just crazy."

"Oh my... I was at Walmart, same thing, all the food was sold out." Tupi said. "But we have stocked up before that."

Tupi went around chatting with some of the people eating, he was trying to learn more about why people were here and how they were affected, how the insurance worked and how disasters affected people.

Tupi soon realized that everyone there was like a regular person. Had a job, owned a home. Some have homes that were slightly damaged, and simply did not have enough food, and just came for a hot meal. They were not there for handouts or any consoling. They did not beg.

Tupi then met a couple who had their home destroyed.

"We live by the beach and the waves and surge just came and destroyed the house." The lady said.

"Wow, luckily you got out." Tupi said.

"Well, we were in the shelter before the storm." The lady said. "Our house gets flooded almost every year."

"Every year?" Tupi asked. "How did you afford to pay for the repairs?"

"Insurance" The lady said. "The insurance paid out for all the damages."

"Is your insurance expensive?" Tupi asked. "Does it go up everytime your home gets destroyed?"

"No, the insurance is backed by the government and it does not go up." The lady said.

"Then it must be nice to have a new house every year." Tupi joked.

"No, it is actually pretty bad." The lady said. "The house repairs and some furniture is paid for, but there are some things which we still have to pay out of pocket. And for a few months a year, we have to live with our parents while the house is getting fixed."

"Wow, that sounds horrible." Tupi said. "Why don't you sell after the home is fixed?"

"Who will buy it?" The lady asked. "Everyone knows this area floods."

"Can't you just take insurance money and buy another home?" Tupi asked.

"No, insurance is for repairs." The lady said. "We paid $80,000 for our home and collected more than $200,000 for repairs already. And because we need to pay more to replace furniture that is not covered, we have no savings and cannot afford to buy another house. And the house floods every year, so no one will buy it."

"Can't the insurance company just give you the money?" Tupi asked. "And even partial sum of the house would be good for you to downpayment for another house. And the insurance would save money by not paying for repairs every year."

"If only insurance works like that." the lady said.

"Damn, this system is so complex and ... fucked up." Tupi said. "So I guess your neighbors are screwed like you because the system is screwed up."

"Yup, pretty much." The lady said. "But as long as insurance keeps paying, we have no choice but to fix and live there, then repair every year when hurricane comes."

"This is a nightmare," Tupi said. "I don't know how I would cope with this on a yearly basis."

Tupi was depressed. In a disaster, even when it seems like you get free repairs for an old home, there was still a lot of things unspoken and stress that goes with it. Perhaps in some areas, man simply should not live there, because nature always win in the end.

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