Editor's Note: We typically swim in our fishbowls, having a million different conversations as we go about our daily lives. But this week in Tampa Bay, we're all asking the same questions, speaking the same fears and telling the same jokes. Our reporter spent Thursday afternoon eavesdropping at a bar, a coffee shop, a hardware store, a Walmart and Tyrone Square Mall. Here's what she heard, woven together as we all anticipate the big storm.
"Have you been through a hurricane before?"
"I don't know what to do." "This is insane." "There's no doubt that this is going to be the biggest, baddest thing we've seen."
"They say we're not really going to get started till Sunday." "I saw it on Facebook." "I watched the Weather Channel this morning." "It's just going to be a bunch of rain." "It's going to flood worse than a normal storm." "See, I don't really think we're going to get flooded."
"How are you?" "Are you ready?" "You guys go get prepared."
"I rented a van." "We got a car." "I'm going to go up 19." "You're going to drive in that traffic?" "I just drove it, it's clear as a bell." "I don't even know where we're going, but we're going." "I'm just going to kayak down to see my mom."
"My aunt is very psychic, and she sent me a text this morning that scared the s--- out of me: '45-foot wave. You shouldn't leave.' "
"We're staying home then, right?" "You're going to want to stay put." "I'm not leaving."
"So I might just stay in town. I don't know, though. I'll have a better idea tonight." "So you're going to ride it out at home, what, by yourself?"
"No, my friend Mike is coming over." "Everybody's coming to my house."
"I've got Cheetos." "We bought a big bag of chips." "I've got chicken in the crock pot right now."
"I'm going to drink." "That's what my brother said, he was going to buy a lot of beer." "I have so much vodka." "I just texted somebody, 'Needless to say, I had a bottle of wine by myself last night.' " "I could really use a massage."
"I'm just trying to get a hold of Alex, because I need my f---ing charger."
"You wouldn't have any batteries left, would you?" "Where are the batteries?" "Looking for D Batteries? All gone. We're looking for the same thing." "I think we sold out of batteries." "Three dollars for one candle? I don't think so." "Do you have hand wipes? Those might come in handy."
"They're at home, getting the house ready." "I asked if they needed help. They didn't say anything." "Why isn't this store open?" "Everyone's out of water." "It's crazy, it could turn right any time." "This is going to clear out the state."
"Animals feel it before we do." "I was looking around — no birds. It was weird." "My cat is already acting crazy." "He's climbing up the walls." "I'm just looking for something for my dog to pee on during the storm." "If that works for you, then go for it."
"I just did the math: We're 30 feet above sea level." "I live five blocks from the water." "I'm in zone B." "I'm in C."
"We've got back-up generators." "I'm good to go, man."
"Do we have hurricane insurance?"
"This happened before, and all my freaking out was for nothing." "How do you know it's not going to be different this time?" "It sounds like the name of a white old lady." "Yeah, that's the real problem."
"It's going to be bad." "It's going to be fiiiiiine." "We're all dead." "Worst hurricane ever." "I'm not worried." "When's the onslaught? Sunday at 2, right?"
"Let's just pray we don't get hit."
"Good luck." "Good luck and be safe." "Y'all be safe." "Thank you, be safe." "Have a great day, and stay safe." "Be safe."
Contact Lisa Gartner at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lisagartner.