HURRICANE SANDY OCTOBER 2012
Counting your blessings: This tree could have been 2 feet taller and ruined the front of the house it feel directly toward. It could have fell next door and crushed the neighbor’s house, and it could have even fallen forward blocking the road, crushing a car or taking town 2-3 telephone pole powerlines.
Halloween has been especially scary these past 2 years. In 2011 we had a snowstorm which brought down power and heat for days. The problem was that all the leaves were still on the trees, making snow that much heavier on the trees. They were snapping tree limbs right and left. This year, we had a hurricane coming up from Caribbean, cold air coming down from Canada and a Noreaster storm all in one. While the rain was not an immediate problem in the north, homes down in South Jersey were floating away. Many landmarks and the famous boardwalks of the Jersey shore were now just piles of lumber and rubble.
Well its only Day 3 here without power or heat. I say only but its the longest period I can recall here in North Jesey and it could be another week. I am thankful my house is untouched with little or no damage. For the first time in a very long time I can relax, though forced to, there is not a lot I can do without power to produce work from the computer. And, my clients will hopefully understand this. Trust me, I would rather be working, not just for the money, but to get caught up on projects even if no money was involved. Why? Because its just what I do. I work or become incredibly bored. Thankfully I am a creative field. But evn more, the sooner I get caught up I can go on a much needed vacation.
Even now I am typing this with two fingers on an iPad and it reminds me of an old typewriter so stick with me as I will finish this later because its so annoying and slowing me down. But I have read more in 3 days than three months. I am happy to report I finished an excellent book. The first book I can recall in years. I ususlly get bored halfway though but the 2nd half of this book really pushed me to finish it. In the dark no less.
So its the 4th day and this is what I woke to. I am old enough to remember this more than anything else from when Jimmy Carter was president other than the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Gas lines. Cars lined up for miles, but now in a modern age, people lined up with red plastic gas cans since most can afford generators now to heat their homes and provide electricity. Security has become a problem because of disorderly idiots at the gas pumps. As radical AM Radio talk host noted, these people making the rest of us miserable are those who cut into a lane at the last minute to exit off the highway, someone who parks in the handicap parking spot because they are too busy or think they are too special to walk an extra 50 feet. They are the people who pick out the shrimp from the all you can eat buffet leaving only vegetables or those who buy nuts or fruits or candy by the pound and eat 25-50% of them before they go to check out, paying half of what they should have. It is in these cases you have to praise politicians like Governor Christie. Love him or hate him, he is a leader and is not afraid to treat people like children when they do not behave. While many called it Marshal Law, it was needed. He implied gas rationing so that people with license plates ending in an odd number were only allowed to get gas on an odd numbered day. So, if your license plate ended in 63, 71 or 11, you can get gas on November 3rd. If your license plate ended in 24, 18 or 12, you can only get gas the next day on November 4th. Of course you had the same idiots switching license plates to cheat the system, but the reality was, it cut the problem in half, at least for a few days. And, by then, hopefully all will be back to “normal”. Refineries will be back online, fuel trucks will start coming in from other states, and people will only use what gas they are rationed to, to use for emergency uses like one hot shower a day or minimal heating. It really is disappointing that people are so selfish that they don’t consider the needs of their fellow citizens to make minimal sacrifices, but here is a perfect example where a heavy handed “Big Brother” like Christie is making a difference, no matter how unpopular his tactics or policy.
All of this, is in spite of the fact that many people are homeless. Many who lived in the same house or town or area all their lives. They had no home to go to while others were angry they had no heat. Its human nature, but its ugly nonetheless. In the same respect you had people who did get power back welcoming friends and mere strangers over to charge their phones, laptops, and other “essential” devices which were hardly essential 10 years ago. Most people I know no longer have a house landline phone. I have one but I use it about twice a year only to see if its still working, and I only keep the number so my older relatives can still call me and get through since the number has not changed in 20 years. I imagine when they pass on, I will no longer keep that number, but part of it is sentimental. It was hard enough to accept the fact that the 201 area code changed to 973 at some point. 201 was always New Jersey, 212 was always New York and 202 was always Washington. Now you have half a dozen area codes in any state.
So after 5 cold nights passed, I finally got power back. It was good to come home after Midnight from a long day working out in the cold to see street lights on my block and lights on in my house I had forgotten to close before the power went out. Many are still out of power, heat and I tried not to complain about my minor inconveniences, but the depression had began to set in. Wasting gas to find food places open, worried about wasting gas to find that food and not having enough to get to work, and tired of cooking frozen pizza I did have thawed in the freezer out on the propane grill in the dark. Again, its human nature. Of course I thought and prayed for those who lost everything but their lives and the clothes on their back, but its tough to keep your head up, especially during these hard economic times. A co-worker and friend brought me 10 gallons of gas from Pennsylvania and didn’t even ask me for the price of the plastic gas can, which are also hard to find. I repaid the generous offer by giving him the price of the gas of course, but a few extra dollars and a bottle of wine. I had no idea his birthday was the next day, but its always good to error on the side of generosity, especially since someone thinks to ask if he can bring you something without even thinking to ask them. I can think of less generous people in my own family and people I’ve known for years.
While many complain about how hard the world is and how bad things are, its important to keep your head up, make new friends and let go of those who do not deserve your friendship or generosity. While there is an endless amount of stupidity, selfishness and tragedy in this world, remember, there are those who are willing to help without motive. I believe in Karma and sometimes it takes a disaster like a hurricane to deliver the punishment to those who deserve sins from the past and repay the goodness of those who are generous when they have little or nothing to give. But no matter what, it makes all of us reflect that there will be a next time, and we had better be prepared, and never underestimate the power of friends who can simply make life easier by driving two hours in your direction with the smell of gas fumes just to put your mind at ease so you can get to work or sit in the car for one hour using gas just to keep warm and charge your mobile phone.