Friday, November 2, 2012

Sandy You Old Bag!

Last year big bad Irene was making her way into town.  The news went bananas, and I followed suit.  I lined up my bottled water, my flashlight, my candles.  I took my AC out of the window because I was afraid it would get ripped out of my window and kill someone.  Then the day comes, and it was cloudy.  And it drizzled.  Fool me once weather man...

When they started talking about "Frankenstorm" I thought it was a big ol' nothing. Whole Foods was selling their "Frankenstorm" supplies and I thought it was a gimmick. No thank you please.
I bought normal people groceries and went about my business.  Storm, schmorm.

And then my mom suggested I get some Starbucks Via.  Just in case.  (Great thinking mom).  I also got a lot of wine.

The more I watched the news, the scarier it got.  By Sunday morning they were evacuating part of the East Village, but I seemed to be OK.  Then Mayor Bloomberg starts saying things like "If you don't evacuate, you are risking the lives of whoever will have to come save you" and my guilt kicks into over drive.  I debate evacuating, but decide to stick it out.  Bring it Sandy!

 I worked from home on Monday and waited for the power to go out at any moment, but kept it until 9pm. I was totally cocky. All day people checked in and I was living the life.  No worries.  Cozy at home with flowers, champagne, and candy corn.  Charging devices, scrambling for old iPods.  Whatever I could find.  In the afternoon the wind really started picking up, and not gonna lie, it was scary. I had to turn off the news because it was getting really terrifying. Saying this is the worst storm of our lifetime.  The final straw for me was when Mayor Bloomberg was asked if he would expand the evacuation zone in Manhattan, and he replied that even if he wanted to, it was too late. No more trains or buses would be running, there was no way out.  Maybe a little part of me got scared... what aren't they telling us?  So I did what any logical person would do.  Put my sneakers next to my bed, and filled a zip-lock bag with my passport, cash, credit card, granola bars, and a safety pin so I could pin my emergency bag to myself as I go floating across Manhattan.  Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. I felt like I was preparing for the Hunger Games, Titanic, and Walking Dead all at the same time.

The lights finally went out, the neighbors all booed and yelled, and I went into action mode.  The priority- take a shower while I still have hot water.  What a glorious shower that was.  Then off to bed.  What the hell else would I do?  I braced myself for a Tuesday of no power.

I wake up Tuesday, and read.  And clean.  Put on my iPod and am taken over with the urge to have a crazy dance party by myself, which was fun for about 12 minutes. Then more reading.  A couple naps. Thinking about what I would eat, and taking chances on what was in my fridge, and least likely to make me sick.

I had no cell service, but I would check every couple hours. Tried to send some texts, but nothing.  I figured that friends and family would know from the news or something that cell service was down, so I didn't worry about it too much.  What did suck was around dusk, when I realized it was just a matter of time before I'd be super bored.  But I got way deep into a couple books, and plowed through.  Me, my Kindle, and a mag light.  I still somehow thought the lights could pop on at any moment.  Wrong.

I wake up Wednesday and wonder what to do.  I haven't seen news, or spoken to a soul.  I have no idea if there is power anywhere on the island, and I am sure as hell not taking a cold shower, so I throw my hair in a pony tail, and start the 45 block journey to mid-town.  I get to  Union Square, and take a look at my phone to see if I have service and my best friend Jen is calling.  The relief in her voice- I had no idea people were so worried.  She tells me she called my mom and there was a phone chain. We chat for a few and she tells me there is power above 34th, so I keep walking.  And call home. 

My dad answers on the first ring and asks if I'm OK.  My dad was worried.  This freaked me out.  He doesn't worry.  We catch up and I call my mom at work, who answered the phone during a meeting.  She is glad I'm OK and tells me I have some really good friends.  They were in touch with my family all day and they all worried about me together.  I start weeping.  Obviously.  And call my sister.  Who is also crying. So I cry more.  The bums on the street are looking at my like I'm crazy.  It's just us out there at this point.  By the time I reach 34th it's like a switch was flipped- all of these freshly showered people just going about their business.  It's like nothing happened up there.

I get to work, and I am relieved to see some other faces.  I realize that my coworkers were as worried about me as my family was.  They almost sent one of the guys who lives in my neighborhood to knock on my door, but they were afraid it would scare me.  Umm, it absolutely would have.  But it's the thought that counts. I'm a lucky lady.

On my walk home, I go by one of my favorite stores, Fish's Eddy.  Smattered all across the window are post its.  Some funny, some sad, some sassy, but all a tribute to Sandy.

This week has been crazy, and I'm starting to get sick of the hour walk each way (I bought a backpack for Christ's sake) and the no power and cell service were putting me on edge.  I have to leave work an hour before sundown to minimize my chances of getting raped/robbed on the way home.  Kind of kidding not really.

I can easily feel sorry for myself, but I have to remind myself that I have a house, and I am alive.  There are some major inconveniences, but I am OK.  I have really enjoyed that every day every food truck in the city camps out in Union Square and I could pick up some food on my way home, before I crawl in bed to watch movies in the dark.  Good for them, we are fish in a barrel.  I started to wonder when I would stop flipping the light switch every time I walked in the bathroom.  Yesterday I almost snapped and looked for every plane, train, and automobile option to Boston, but they were all sold out.  Then today came.

I was a couple blocks from home walking by a paint store and thought... That's a pretty chandelier in there. I wonder why they are running a generator for a chandelier. Then I saw a neon sign at the dry cleaner and my heart swelled. Street lights were on. I started racing home. I didn't need a flashlight to open my door!!! I HAVE POWER!!!  No more carrying a flashlight just so I can get my keys in the door.  No more needing to shower at the gym (but at least this made me join).  No more risking my life every time I cross the street because there are no traffic lights.  I've never been happier to see this guy.  --->

 Sandy is a nasty bitch, but I survived her.  It was a horrible hazing but I get what it feels like to be part of this amazing and resilient city.  It's probably a blessing that I missed most of the news coverage this week because now when I see what's really happening I can't stop weeping.  Like uncontrollably.  I just watched the benefit concert on TV (because I have TV now) and cried and texted the Red Cross to donate like a maniac.  I am lucky, many others not so much.  It's going to be a long time coming back, but this city has come back from a lot of awful things and is nothing but stronger for it.  I love you New York, thanks for letting me tough it out here.

And now for some smiles.