The high drama of big storms is something that we eat up. There’s a tension of excitement as we hope to hang on to power and water, a neurotic checking of battery power in our phones and computers. As Frankenstorm Sandy descended upon my family, we took the approach we always take – lazy preparation, with crossed fingers and secret enjoyment of the unpredictable weather and its consequences which were totally out of our hands.
It’s a little tricky to articulate in a way that makes sense, but I suspect it rings true for most people. It’s not that we enjoy a natural disaster, and I’m not unconcerned for my family’s safety. I’m all too aware of the suffering it’s caused, and had a sleepless night last night worrying about the hospital patients being evacuated from NYU Hospital, and all my favorite things on Coney Island being eaten up by the ocean.
But I do enjoy the community that rises to the surface. People make eye contact on the street, homes open up. Smiles are given out freely and people no longer seem to feel threatened by one another. The bigger threat – nature – brings us back to zero, I suppose. Us vs. the world. All of us versus something much more powerful than all of us.
And Twitter and Facebook. Social media outlets that I use sporadically became my lifeline and information go-to sources. With Internet and Cable out, the 4G on my phone was keeping me company last night. It’s funny peculiar that the pithy “I’m thinking of you in NYC” statements from celebrities and musicians and followers and strangers and far-away friends suddenly really mean something. One after another in my Twitter timeline, people saying “hang in there.” A status update I entered on Facebook saying “I’m Ok” gathered immediate attention from my friends and family, letting me know they were thinking about it too. Thinking about me.
That feels good, when the wind is knocking on the window in a fairly violent manner.
But here in Zone B, about 100 yards from the evacuation zone, we were right as rain. We kept our power on; flickering and threatening to give up on us, but kept it nonetheless. Our water stayed on and none of our windows gave way. Our walls held up and our roof stayed on and no huffing and puffing by Sandy brought us harm. Smitty and Shep ran around the house naked making windy noises with their mouths, and Roan celebrated the two (and counting) days off from school with friends, confetti, music videos, play-doh, food, movies and much tackling of his father.
It’s not over yet but the worst part is done. I predict that tomorrow’s Halloween will bring more kids out-of-doors than ever. With parents ready to leave their four walls, and kids bursting with pent-up energy. And a hangover of community spirit that will hopefully stick around for a while.