Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In the aftermath of Sandy

Those of you who know me personally are aware my family and I were among the many who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. If you are a New Yorker you tend to take all weather advisories with a touch of "yeah right" cynicism.  After all for many years we have had bad snow storms as our most catastrophic weather event - and as much as they aggravate me (oh stop it for all of you who want to tell me that it is pretty - it is when you are inside, outside it is a pain to shovel, move out of the way, and no I do not want to ski, snowboard, or sleigh) they are manageable. They are expected when you live in the climate I do.  They are "natural".  All other warnings people tend to think are exaggerations and things that we send money for to other states when they get walloped.

This time the predictions were right...though the winds and rain as they were actually happening did not seem to be strong enough to cause the devastation it actually did.  The thing that always strikes me is how overwhelmingly well New Yorkers (with some exceptions) behave in times of crisis, yes New Jersey you too.  We lost power at about 6pm on Monday - a rare occurrence for our house.  We did not get upset - we continued eating the dinner I had just finished making by candlelight.  We had charged our devices, I had filled up the gas tank, so we hunkered down ready to have a night without power.  It was not a night though, it went on and on and on.  We walked around flipping light switches as if that would bring the power back, we played games, we went out to dinner and then we came home and bundled for the nights were multiple blankets were needed.  I found out some things about myself.  I am more resilient than most people (including myself) realize, I got a few comments on how "you are doing so much better than I thought" from people.  I am the girl who will not go camping after all, who considers roughing it sleeping at Holiday Inn - and I am ok with that.  I have never been one to like the backpacking, hostel life even when I was young enough to qualify for staying at a hostel - the comforts of  a private bathroom and a nice hotel  were always the way I traveled.  I found out that I can shower in the dark and put on make up by flashlight (guess those nights putting on while in car on way to clubs were useful after all).  I came down a few morning to find my husband staring at the tv, gently stroking the remote - the man was suffering - me, well since the TV is usually commandeered by said husband or boys I did not miss it that much.

I caught up on American Horror Story Season 1 - yeah bit of an odd choice in a dark house, with the wind howling, but that Dylan McDermott, well he can posses me and this house any time... I read and listened to a lot of music.  I also got confirmation that I have the most amazing friends far and near ever.  There are friends who I did not ever meet in person (we met through mutual friends via Facebook or email) who checked on me daily (yes Kris one of them be you), who though we never met offered me shelter (yes Denise T that be you and Jeremy too) - friends who we see all the time who offered us their house keys (Sylvana) and too many to name who offered us housing, showers, laundry time, food and embraced us in the time of our need.   There were friends who live far away (cross state lines, cross country, cross continents) who offered us a mini vacation location (so many of you to thank).  A week is a long time to go without power but we still found ourselves thinking we were lucky compared to others who as I write this have lost so much .  I embraced the woman of comfort that I am and did what what any New York lady who wishes she lunches does - I got my hair done, and that small act of normalcy helped me through a few days.  I spent a lot of time with the boys and was thrilled to see how great these plugged in kids were unplugged - their favorite nighttime game "spelling and math" where we threw out words and problems and they had to answer correctly (hey they have some of my Dad's genes).  They never complained and they told me they loved electricity when it came back.  I cooked by candlelight and entertained fantasies about Michael Langdon (ok that could be the cold making me a little delirious .  In the end I shrugged and was sad mostly by the fact that I had to throw out so much food that had gone bad.

I find myself though listening to people complain about Sandy - how she wrecked their lives.  Yet I do not blame her, she is a product of many, many years of the beatings that we as a people have given and continue to give this planet.  I have learned that I can survive, but hope I do not have to,  and I am scared of what is to come in future years.  I am not sure we can help the damage that was done but we can help not add to it.  There needs to be a thoughtful discussion on global warming, of how to deal with nations that will lie about their emissions (that's right China I'm talking to you) and how to combat that by possibly working to reduce even more of the emissions from nations that do not.  My sons, who along with their friends in this area, proved they are an amazing bunch of people, deserve to have women in their future who do not wreck havoc but are forces of nature.

"Sandy..baby ..I'm in misery" - John Travolta

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