In mid 2005, I started working at a very, very large insurance company. A few months in, in August, Katrina occurred and it was widely assumed after a while that it would be incredibly destructive – once we saw where it was heading.
Said insurance company had a big dining and presentation area next to the cafeteria and Katrina was such an event that they turned the news on on big projection screens. The middle one had the sound turned on while the other two played different channels with closed captioning.
While the hurricane was hitting New Orleans, some of the news organizations were projecting insurance losses and being an insurance company we were very interested in it. Hence the giant TVs. One, in particular, was keeping a running tally as the losses went up. The same day the projected losses passed the most expensive storm ever, a few hundred people were watching in the room at once.
We were all waiting for it to do one hundred billion Dollars worth of damage, as it was expected. The notes would come in from different wards of the city. $80 billion, $90 billion. $95 billion.
There was a little bit of a cheer in the room at that point, as if we had all been part of something big and important. Something of note.
After a second, everyone realized what they had done and went back to their cubicles in silence.