Aprés le deluge

Not a welcome sight, The last time we had Army vehicles on our streets was after 9/11.

I woke up at 4:25 this morning. The lamp next to my bed had just come on after being dark since Monday night. It was an incredible relief to have power again and I crawled out from under the covers to survey the house. All the radiators were on, valiantly pushing back the accumulated cold. The lamps in the living room were just like they were when we were interrupted while watching “Damages” on Netflix on Monday night, thinking we were just going to enjoy a long weekend once the storm had passed, a million years ago. I tested the elevator. It whirred right up; now we wouldn’t have to trudge up and down the eight flights of fire stairs carrying the dogs for their constitutional. We could clear away the candles that surrounded our nightly card games, empty the flashlights of the batteries we’d hoarded, toss out the empty beer bottles and spent matches.

I walked past this broken crane as it dangled 90 stories over my friend’s neighborhood, a literal Sword of Damocles.

I was lucky, of course. My sister’s home was swamped, her basement filled to the ceiling with Atlantic Ocean, her car destroyed. It may be six months before they are whole again. My little niece who just started kindergarten could be out of school for a month or more. And so many other people lost it all, in some cases their lives. I don’t need to tell you that—you are probably far better informed than I am, clinging to my dwindling cel phone and my staticky radio.

I am also lucky because I was given another wakeup call, a reminder of how inundated I am with media and luxury and bullshit. To spend the evening listening to a crackling jazz station and eating beans on toast by candlelight is a rare pleasure, a reminder of the simpler things. I hope I don’t lose the insights Sandy gave me. And I hope the next storm isn’t even worse.