Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Brooklyn Girl's Hurricane Thoughts

via In Focus

It's almost the end of day three in post Sandy NYC, and I thought I'd at least try and explain the roller coaster my brain has been through in the most honest way that I can.  Yes, we are all thankful, yes we're sending positive thoughts out into the universe, but what's really happening in a Brooklyn girl's brain in her heated, powered apartment? Let me try and explain.

Monday night on Facebook, it was all about the snacks.  This was me:  Only thoughts in my head right now: what can I eat next? Right now- Mac and cheese and pumpkin ale!

And then: Can the news people start saying "Sandy has landy" please? You know they want to!


And then I lost internet.  But never power.  We listened to the radio, we attempted to play trivial pursuit, we ate a ton of snacks and then we went to bed.

Tuesday was all about getting out of the apartment and doing some shameless disaster tourism. Although it didn't feel like that at the time. Alex and I walked into Manhattan, spent about 15 minutes there thinking, this is weird, no power, yet no flooding either.  And then we walked back.  We ended up taking in our friend Dustin, picking him up in our car on the Brooklyn side of the Williamsburg bridge.  I tried to blog about it in a somewhat honest/ somewhat removed way- but I had no idea what I was talking about.  We walked to the supermarket and bought things to make tacos.  We drank some wine and watched Anne of Green Gables.  Everything we did had comfort written all over it.  The food, the entertainment.  It was a sleepover and school was closed again tomorrow. I think we all felt like kids and there had just been a blizzard. Maybe I'll clean out my closet, I thought.

Wednesday, Alex walked into work from the bridge (about an hour and 15 minutes) while Dustin and I had brunch with friends.  We talked about how weird it all was and the uncertainty of things was starting to settle in.  How long would we be without subway service? The guilt was beginning too.  When the waitress told me they had no fresh lemon for my tea, we all laughed.  Of course, no problem! Who needs things like lemons, when we just had a hurricane?  It felt like a joke, we were all being good humored.

Dustin and I then went shopping for Halloween costume materials. I went to a very full yoga class where people talked about being stressed even though nothing happened to them.  Alex came home from work exhausted and feeling sad and surprisingly emotional. Working in a building running on generator power with no lights in the bathrooms and important warnings not to drink the water felt too big to process what that actually meant.  I didn't quite get what he was talking about.  I just had what felt like a normal Saturday (even though it was Wednesday) in Brooklyn.  But I was getting there.

But we got dressed up and went to the Halloween party.  We went because we'd been planning for it.  We went because it was Halloween and there was a party, even if there was just a hurricane.  We went to support our friend's bar and to feel resilient.  And we had fun.  But we only stayed for a few hours and then went home.

And then it was Thursday.  Thursday was when I couldn't stop watching the news.   Which went from being about traffic in the morning, to suddenly being about the under reported tragedies still happening in Staten Island.  Fuck.  I should be helping people.  What is wrong with me? What is wrong with this world? Oh no I feel a global warming spiral freak out coming on!  I wrote a fun blog post about nail polish that I had been thinking about for a while.  I wondered if I should only be posting hurricane related things before posting it, and then posted it anyway. I realized that the gas shortage was in our neighborhood now too.  Not just in Manhattan, not just in New Jersey.  Alex and I went out to dinner but felt guilty about going out to dinner,  but also like we should go out to dinner to support our neighborhood that we love so much.  My mom joked that as long as we felt guilty all through dinner then it was okay to go out.  Haha.  I looked into volunteering   I remembered that I had a pack of unused batteries.  People need batteries.  Like, really badly actually.  I also invited a friend over for lunch tomorrow.  But shouldn't I be volunteering instead of eating lunch?  Shouldn't I have been volunteering this whole time???  What can I do over the weekend to help out? I never cleaned out my closet.

Thanks for listening.  Please don't judge me but this is what the hurricane's really been like for me so far.  At least I think it is, still trying to figure it all out.


  1. You're not alone feeling this way... I've been trying to put into words how I feel several times today for my blog, and the result has just been frustration... I feel like what you said here pretty much sums up how I've been coping with the hurricane as well.

    I came out on the other side hardly affected. I never lost power. I never lost Internet. If I hadn't gone outside three times during the storm, I probably wouldn't have even noticed there was one. Our basement apartment is like a bunker. My neighborhood was barely affected. There were down trees and I saw one down business sign, but otherwise? Like there had been no storm.

    I read the reports and saw the pictures of what had gone on downtown, but it all seemed so distant. My daily life hadn't changed... It was hard to imagine that there were parts of the city where lives were drastically altered due to infrastructure damage.

    The thing that made it real for me was seeing Recovery Subway Map and seeing that big hole in service below 34th St.

    I feel like I should be doing something, but what? I feel like the best thing I can do is stay home and not clog up the transit system... but I feel guilty just living my life as if nothing happened.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Nikkiana. I signed up to receive emails from and they're making it pretty easy to volunteer for things. Check it out if you're interested! And stay safe. xo

  2. I love your honesty; I suspect I'd be much the same.

  3. I can totally understand your confusion. I would say, just turn your guilty feelings into gratefulness that you were relatively unaffected by the hurricane and then just help out where you can.

  4. I think there's a big expectation that people should feel sad and dreadful after something so horrendous has happened. But the fact is, it doesn't affect everybody in the same way. Thankfully, you were relatively unaffected in an immediate-disaster type way and so carried on as normally as possible. I think the fact that you're being reflexive about the way you feel, and that you're aware of feeling guilty or lucky or whatever is a positive thing in itself because it shows your concern for the situation and for how other people must be feeling. Does that make sense?