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Hurricane Sandy

November 10, 2012

An eventful, stressful, and wearying couple of weeks. I’m very lucky in that I, and all of my loved ones, are safe and sound, and warm, and were only out of power for a little while. I am doubly lucky in that I had friends who let me camp on their couch uptown, after two nights without power. The following isn’t definitive or a Statement on what happened, just snapshots and  memories I want to keep track of.

Thinking the storm wasn’t going to be a big deal. Realizing it was a big giant deal, and joining the panicked Sunday afternoon frenzy to go get flashlights and batteries- I could only find wee, dinky ones, but I bought three, and all the batteries I could lay hands on. So many stores were stripped bare of batteries and bottled water. I need to assemble an emergency kit. (I had one, at my previous apartment, where I’d lived after the blackout of ’03. Moved and left the kit behind, thinking I’d never need it again. Oops.)

I’m still not sure why I made that giant lasagna on Saturday, except for the theory that I could eat it cold for a day or two. And I did, and shared with two neighbors, also single ladies like me.

Said neighbors were instrumental and essential in getting me through the days of the blackout. One had a battery operated radio. We knocked on each others’ doors a lot, shared food, even something as simple as sitting on a couch other than mine to do my reading in daylight hours, that helped.

When my cell phone didn’t work, even though it was fully charged, that spooked me. I wanted to make sure I could get in touch with my parents. Not being able to get emails and calls to them… that was what made it actually stressful.

I live on the 12th floor of my building. I’ve discovered that going down is no problem. But climbing back up, I wish I lived on the eighth floor.

Even though he lives on the eighth floor of his building, my Scrabble playing friend came to visit me while the power was out. His willingness to climb that many stairs– that’s a true test of friendship right there!

It was eerie to head uptown. There weren’t lights until 39th St.39th and above, life was going on as normal. Many thanks to all of the businesses who supplied charging stations. It was a kindness, and it helped us feel normal.

Many many many thanks to those who let me crash on couches and offered me much, much needed TLC. More than just a hot shower (which was bliss) and the kindness of feeding me dinner (yum), I needed hugs, and someone to listen to me vent the accumulated stress of the upheaval. Thank you, for the return to sanity.

Until I crashed on the above-mentioned couch, I hadn’t seen any reports of the devastation Sandy wrought on South Jersey, the Rockaways and Staten Island. Heartbreaking. And then strange, to see a benefit concert pulled together, and know that it was for… somewhere local to me. Surreal, to be thinking about a heartbreaking cause, and also really digging the music.

I don’t watch Rachel Maddow often, but my uptown hosts did. When I saw the camera pull back to show her wearing jeans, and she acknowledged that she, like so many others that week, was living out of a suitcase, I thought it was classy, and she was classy, and I felt less jangled myself.

A gifted professional soprano sang me to sleep one night, with “All the Pretty Horses,” A week later, it still makes me smile, because it helped me feel better and because wow… what a voice!

Thank you to those who fed me stew. Emphatic thank you.

Media choices: Apparently, 19th century literature soothes my spirit when things are in crisis. I sped through Louisa May Alcott’s Eight Cousins, and then Rose in Bloom, and felt very much restored by reading those. Also, watching Highlander the Series made things much better. Glorious science fiction 90’s cheese.

I wish I had more I could donate to people who weren’t as lucky in Sandy’s aftermath.

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