Monday, November 5, 2012

Things I Learned During Hurricane Sandy

Back at my Tribeca office after Superstorm Sandy, I still can't believe an entire week of our planned lives was taken away. Mercifully, all the folks I know survived - though some lost houses and valuables - yet there's always someone who has it worse.

I've always been prepared. Having signed my Manhattan apartment lease on September 10, 2001 - you know, the day before September 11th - and after experiencing the 2003 blackout, plus a ton of other wacked-out scenarios, I've always had a "go bag" at the ready.

Perhaps I have more apocalyptic visions than most (or am just a sucker for's Survivalist section), because my go bag includes a surplus Israeli gas mask, iodine pills and a water purifier, in addition to the standard stuff like a hand-crank radio and matches. And I'm seriously wondering how I can keep a blowup raft in my studio apartment, because after the second year in a row of having the subways shut down on us, I want a guaranteed way to leave this island.

Being prepared and fending for myself have been the only things I've known for a long time. Fiercely independent, I was determined to take care of myself (and my feline, Ava) through this ordeal. After two days of no power, the desire for a hot shower set me off on another path - to Sheepshead Bay - which was actually way worse off than Manhattan. Once in Brooklyn, away from the canned goods and familiarity of my home, getting through Sandy's aftermath called for a new approach. One that taught me some valuable and trivial things. They are as follows:

1. South Brooklyn (Gravesend, specifically) now has a fine selection of 24-hour bodegas that fulfill my fancy beverage needs.

2. Crazy drivers are everywhere, but are especially dangerous in an area where they can speed up enough to kill you.

3. Pets and trees need to be cared for the way babies are.

4. Always be kind. You never know when karma will come around. Or when you'll be the one in need of help. For some reason, after Sandy, I find myself more patient and polite to everyone.

5. Though doing things for yourself is imperative, having someone there for the simple act of comforting you can be as revelatory as food or heat.

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