Monday, November 5, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

What a trip this hurricane has been…

I feel very fortunate to be relatively unaffected by this hurricane.  I was out of power for several days (enough to make me batty and emotional), but I am unharmed, my home is unharmed, my car is unharmed and my place of work is unharmed.  Very fortunate.

Even through my whining about sleeping in the cold and not seeing daylight for a few days I knew I had the better end of the stick.  I am also very lucky to have the people in my life that I do.  I had friends contacting me from all over the states (some of which I rarely hear from) and that meant a lot to me.  It’s nice to know people are thinking about you.  When my power was out friends and coworkers came out of the woodwork to offer hot food, hot showers, outlets to charge phones and the like.  I even had one friend offer to take me in.  I really do appreciate it.  In the end it worked out for me.  I read a wonderful book by flashlight, ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, got to finally use some those candles people give me, played games on the DS, and slept a lot.  The lack of light was driving me crazy so I will be investing in at least one hurricane lantern (with candle oil not kerosene, I hear it burns white and doesn’t smell) and a camping battery operated lantern (brightest possible).  I love lights not having it around was killing me.  Almost every light in my apartment is a 100W blue light (the energy saving florescent ones, just so you don’t think I am wasting that much electricity).  So having only candle light was a HUGE change.  I almost cried when the lights went on in my place.

What is eating away at me are the amount of people not treating the hurricane as a serious disaster.  Several friends of mine keep saying this storm was nothing and it could have been a lot worse.  I got upset last year after Irene for the same reasons but this years storm was so much more devastating.  Yes I agree this was only a category 1 hurricane and by that measure yes it could have been a lot worse.  What I don’t agree with is the lack of gratitude being that these people, like myself, were relatively unaffected.  I am grateful I only lost power and only for a few days.  I am lucky to live in an area of the island that is generally not cause for alarm during a hurricane.  I am on the north shore but a bit inland.  The north shore is higher where I am so flooding from the coast is not an issue.  Trees, however, can be an issue.  I am also lucky that I work in a hospital and I know if needed they will take care of me (showers and food).  I was very happy to bring home hot hospital food when the lights were out.

Then I see mocking photos online poking fun at other peoples devastation.  I don’t find it funny to post photos and make fun of a severely flooded area.  I will never agree with enjoying others misfortunes.  No matter what it is.  The particular image that is burning in my mind is an area with a very much flooded area and a single house exploding.  The general comment on it had to do with things can always get worse, but the trolling on it was awful.  What most likely happened was a gas explosion because of the flooding and even though the area is flooded the water is not going to put it out.  I was hearing about gas explosions all week long.  If I had natural gas at my home I would have been able to light my stove, but I am pretty happy I don't after hearing about those explosions.

The gas situation out here.  Oh my.  It is ridiculous.  I was also lucky to only wait about 50 minutes for gas.  I happened to get on the right line at the right time and the staff at the gas station was very organized.  They had all the entrances and exits blocked off except for one.  One man was directing cars to open stations as they became available.  I wasn’t allowed to fill up, but I was happy to have gas in the car.  But wow are people getting crazy for gas.  I get what is going on.  It has to do with the power outages.  Apparently there is no shortage.  The bays do not have power so the gas can’t be pumped out of the bays.  It will get fixed (when LIPA gets there act together).  Hopefully sooner then later because people are getting shot over this.  When I got gas, I was almost compelled to thank them for being so organized.  It made for a very non stressful experience despite all the tension around gas shortages and I am not used to waiting on line for gas.

Never in my life did I ever expect to hear or see people acting so savagely.  Never.

For those of us that are not grateful for being fortunate I dare you to go out to New Jersey’s shore, Staten Island, Long Beach, Breezy Point, Island Park, Mastic Beach (one of our drivers lost his home there), etc.  Take a look at what these people are dealing with.  If there wasn’t a gas shortage and I wasn’t conserving what I have in the tank, I would be out there helping.  It’s hard to sit at home and hear what’s going on around me and not physically help.  I have also been hearing beautiful stories of random acts of kindness.  One family (I think it was a family) traveled around by truck to some hard hit areas on Long Island with a grill and cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for people so they could have a hot meal.  Other people are offering to help strangers clear out what they can from destroyed homes.  Some are offering to help siphon water out of homes.  It’s amazing what communities can do when we actually pull together.

I was also dying to get photos during the hurricane.  Alas, I do not have a water proof camera.  Something for the future though as they are saying this is the first of many storms.  Gosh, maybe I should just move.  Pfft… nope.  If I ever move I want to be in or right around NYC.  So yeah, still in harms way.  What’s life with out a little mother nature drama?  Eh.

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