02.17.21: Houston, Texas

Another morning, another parking lot–this one a hotel in Houston. Staying inside the hotel is one of Tripp’s work coordinators, and what started as a shower mission (for us) turned into a food and water drop (for him.) Power’s out; water’s out; our phones vibrate with a boil water advisory–for the City of Houston. There’s flashes of dark humor: there’s neither water to boil, nor power to boil it with. We have a camp stove, which feels like a get-out-of-jail-free card. We huddle around mugs of coffee in the chilly room. We’re stumped, temporarily, on the matter of how to flush the toilet–a predicament shared, I’m sure, by the rest of the hotel. But Tripp, unrivaled in the matter of solving problems (he’s fairly adept at creating them, too…), spies the hotel pool: a lightbulb moment, no electricity needed. We trundle down the dark stairwell, armed with the hotel room’s trash cans. We dip them into the pool, tote (and slosh, occasionally) our way back upstairs, flush the toilets. It took just one storm to render Houston about as dysfunctional as a developing country–and I say this having lived in a developing country. America’s energy city; lights out.

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