I’m sure that this is at least the 348574th blog post about her. About Sandy, the angry one, the one who lived up to the media hype, the one in a 100 years. Pictures of devastation go around the world and I feel no desire to re-post them. I think we can all agree that we feel for those who lost a loved one or their homes. I just want to share with you how I’ve experienced Sandy. Last Friday was the first time that I actually took a minute to listen to the hurricane warnings and to get an idea of what was coming our way. Sunday afternoon, still 24 hours before Sandy was scheduled to reach New York, I went to the supermarket to get the basics (water and eggs in this household). The store looked absolutely crazy. One woman bought about 20 lbs of sugar, 50 lbs of rice, enough meat to feed an African country and a whole bunch of other crap. Her bill must have been at least $300. I thought “either she’s really pessimistic or she has 10 children”, and maybe she does but I had to laugh. I went home and waited for Sandy, watched the news, found out that the MTA (subway company here in NY) was in fact shutting everything down at 7pm. Monday came and nothing happened. School was closed as I expected. A few stores were closed in my neighborhood but most remained open and the supermarket was much more relaxed (I realized that I needed additional supplies besides water and eggs). I was out there at 2pm and it was windy! And a bit eerie, too, with very few people in the streets. The TV Channel NY1 kept Margie and me up to date as the winds started picking up outside. Facebook was overflowing with Hurricane-Survival-Kit pictures, mostly showing a whole lot of alcohol and unhealthy snacks. We were all trying to be hopeful, trying to laugh Sandy off, telling her to go f*** herself. Irene didn’t do anything so why would Sandy?
By 6pm the mood changed, the NY1 weather guy insisted that Sandy would live up to her potential. The wind gusts were beating against our windows and I was grateful for living in a solid, renovated building (and on top of a hill). The winds only got worse, first reports of flooding and lost power started appearing on our TV screen. Margie made delicious Salmon for dinner as our lights first started looking a little dim. A few outlets in our apartment stopped working but of course I couldn’t shut my mouth and proclaimed “Wow, look – the whole block is dark already and we’re still in here chillin with lights, TV, Internet and all that”. It took all of 5 minutes for Sandy to shut me up and for us to lose power around 10:30pm. I said an apologetic prayer for my big mouth to the universe and prayed even more so that we would wake up with Sandy gone and the power restored. When I woke up at 3am because my room was suddenly brightly lid, I once again realized that the universe is entirely on my side. The few things in our refrigerator survived the 4 hours without cooling, the coffee maker was a little weak but did the job and things really didn’t seem that bad. Until I turned on the TV… The first thing I saw were the 50 burnt houses in Breezy Point, followed by a completely displaced boardwalk in Rockaway, followed by the report that everything below 39th street was without power. That was the first time I understood why my Dad called me worried at 1:30am German time. It looked bad, terrible, yet not completely unexpected. Sandy just did what all the experts said she would do. I was in this weird emotional place, between gratitude that Margie, my closest friends, and I were all totally fine, and sadness that my city got hit so hard. A lot of times when natural disasters happen it seems as though only the poor get hit badly. Sandy unleashed her anger upon everyone – rich, poor, old, young, black, white, yellow, green. You name it, Sandy destroyed it. I do realize that the death toll is nothing compared to consequences of the tsunamis and earthquakes that have devastated Asia in recent years but this is my city and after all “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”. It’s not an easy city to conquer, not even for a Hurricane.
And now I’m stuck in the aftermath, stuck without my 1 hour commute to Brooklyn because all subway tunnels down there were flooded. I’m stuck in this weird limbo with too much free time. I should be really productive and get all my schoolwork out of the way but that’s not how it works. When I talked to my Dad about it, he said “now you know how I felt when I retired.” Fair enough. I guess part of Sandy’s mission was to open eyes. Open the politicians’ eyes to how bad the infrastructure is in some places, open the public’s eyes that the MTA is offering an amazing service every day; and last but not least open my eyes to see that I in fact love my busy schedule and need my busy schedule, that I’m not ready to slow things down. Sandy, you’ve left a mark, and permanent scars for many New Yorkers. Please don’t come back – seeing your force unfold once was more than enough.