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.

29 thoughts on “Aprés le deluge”

  1. So glad you are safe. Isn’t it a sad comment on our busy lives that it takes a disaster to remind us of what is important? Maybe we should all just “turn off” sometimes and listen to the quiet.


  2. Glad your power is back and your spirits, too! I live in central NJ and have been lucky as these things go, but it was a huge experience all the same. and now gas rationing! back to the 70s…please send my good wishes to your family struggling so much more.


  3. Life! Yes, here in California with all the lights on we sat all week in front of the big screen TV in our warm living room and watched in horror the people trudging through the flooded streets full of sewage, the devastated looks on faces as they pilfered through the sticks that were once their homes. All I could think of is that we are NOT prepared for the Big One, the major earthquake we keep being told could hit anytime. And how would I react to that? Overwhelming sadness for all the losses of life and homes on the East Coast.
    Im glad you seemed to get by okay, but a week of 8 flights of walking carrying dogs and doing without could not have been easy. How did you/people stay warm?
    Im glad you are okay now…I hope your sister and all the others in similiar conditions get the aid they need. My contribution to the Red Cross won’t help very many, but if everyone contributes maybe we can feel a little less helpless and things will get cleaned up faster.
    Life is so darn tenuous. Be well Danny, and thanks for letting us know you are okay.


  4. Thank you for the update and the valuable reminder of how much we take for granted, Danny. You are always such an inspiration.


  5. So glad to hear that you are safe. I have been missing your posts, Danny. And, thank you for reminding us, once again, what is truly important. Sending up prayers for you and all those who were so greatly affected by Sandy and her aftermath.


  6. Thank God! I’ve been thinking about you and how you were treated by Sandy! So glad you have electricity and heat! Take care!


  7. Wonderful! I’ve been thinking about you along with friends on Staten Island and my children and grandchildren in New Jersey. Not to mention everyone impacted so dreadfully by Sandy. I’ve visited your blog here several times hoping to see a post, so this was very welcome today, and I’m happy that you have power again!
    I hope everyone who can will donate to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or whatever charity they choose that is helping to ease the burden of all the victims.


  8. Hi Danny, Glad to hear you are back up and with power. I am sorry that your sister and her family have suffered. My home is still out of power and expected to return on Nov 7. Thanks to my parents, we are here with them so my family and I have heat and electricity now. It is amazing to see everything that we were listening to on the radio! Your post was great and I know what you mean when you mentioned being inundated with media and bullshit. Or like Jon Stewart (from the Daily Show) calls it the crap from Bullshit Mountain, LOL. Take care.


  9. Thanks God, you’re okay, Danny! Thanks for your life of sign !
    My very first thought, when I got the news of Sandy, was : Oh my god, how are Danny?
    So, this is the good sight of the luxury “media-bullshit”: People can converge …;-)

    Best wishes for you, Danny!
    – Matthias from *Rechtenstein

    (*small village in the south of Germany, between Ulm and Lake Constance 🙂 )


  10. So glad to hear you’re okay although sorry about your sister’s home tho. Yep, we can sure take things for granted until we no longer have them, even if temporarily.


  11. I have lived in the East and remember well when, after three or four days without power, the lamps and TV come on again, as well as heat. New Yorkers have endured much – our thoughts are with you – all of you.


  12. Amen. We are still waiting for power in Hoboken inlO many areas still. Thank God for our friends with power who have hosted 6-7 families for dinner since Tuesday. We have all enjoyed the friendship and community spirit on this side of the river.


  13. I’m a native Long Islander and a former long-time New Yorker (still have family and friends on the Island, still have friends in the city, still a New Yorker at heart). I’m glad you got through the storm and sorry to hear about your sister’s house. My cousin pretty much lost her first floor in the storm on the south shore of the Island. Keep that pen and sketchbook in action; people like artists, they like good artwork, and it’s littel bits like that which well play a small part in the sum of countless parts it will take to help New York repair, recover, and move forward.


  14. I wondered how you were Danny. Hope you and all the new yorkers and everyone in the way of Sandy and current storms are going ok. Sounds like power and services are fairly choppy all over the place…. our thoughts and hearts are with you – other side of the earth, going into summer and fairly calm here in Oz. Hope your sister and her family are able to get things going soon. and yes, the reminder to be fully alive to experience is a bucket of cold water to the jaded 21st century awareness… dont usually get the chance to be as awake as that, and as connected, in the whole sense of the word really!

    happy making and drawing the world there, and hope it stays warm and light for you


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