Saturday, November 3, 2012

6 Days After the Hurricane - Cabin Fever & Leadership

As we all know, Hurricane (or Big Ass Storm, if you prefer) Sandy came through here last Sunday night/Monday morning. Tons of people lost power, Internet access, TV signals, homes, etc.

The Angry Redheaded Lawyer was not one of them. Nor was anyone living on her block. Despite living surrounded by trees partially threaded with power lines, we didn't lose a single thing. We didn't even lose our TV signal & that's often the first thing to go. Last year, when Irene happened (a huge much ado over nothing) we lost our signal briefly but got it back. The real problem was the Internet & phone line. That started the ordeal that led me to the community board meeting & to call my local representatives; it probably also contributed to the presence of FiOS this year. We got it recently & have been fine.

We also engaged in prep beforehand so we've been fine with food & all that stuff. The big things affecting us are cabin fever & lack of meaningful public transit to Manhattan. I don't consider a 1+ hour bus ride to a subway station that's running to get into Manhattan to be viable public transit. I want my local subway back up, damn it!

There are also the gas lines. My neighborhood is not exactly close to the highway or way out in the suburbs but there are lines at our gas stations, at least 2 that I know of in the area. I passed by one of them on my way home after some neighborhood reconnaissance. If you have to wait in those lines for gas, you've got my sympathies. This is definitely a time I'm glad I don't live in the suburbs & have to drive to work.

I'm hoping the gas situation will be taken care of before 2 weeks from now since we are planning to go out of town & driving for that purpose. Due to the mandatory TSA groping of all people who dare to book an airline ticket combined with not getting to sit next to my spouse, paying to check luggage, ungodly flight delays and the increasing chance of lost luggage, you couldn't pay me to fly on an airplane. I refuse to get on one unless it's a private jet & I vowed years ago never to fly coach again after my luggage was in the wrong place 3 different times. Since holiday travel is a choice, I'll choose driving; we just have to make sure the weather holds for us.

Minor problems, don't you think? Now you see why I didn't do a post about it immediately. I know people who only today got their power back. I know people who know people who lost everything. Some of the folks I know who did fine even went to go volunteer to help those less fortunate.

As I'm not a brawn person & have no way to meaningfully get anywhere, I've opted to stay home & out of the way. I've also thought about the people worse off than me the second I think I've got it rough. I told friends if they were in my area, they could come here for a shower & some cookies (I made a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies with oatmeal on Sunday; I'm told they came out good & I was trying to use up eggs in case our power went out).

After it passed through, I was like "That's it?" We'd done all this prep, had some non-perishable goods & I was ready for the worst. I figured our area got off lucky & asked others how they were holding up. Facebook was a good guide to see where people lost power, pictures of the damage, get updates on friends & loved ones, etc.

In the meantime, I didn't leave my house until today to assess how our area did. Yep, I was in my house for exactly 1 week. My husband was forced to go back to work on Thursday after buses in our area were running but he considered it a relief since he could get to his branch by taking 1 bus and it would get him out of the house. Eventually, cabin fever gets to you. I've promised myself when the transit system returns that I'm living it up in Manhattan. I did consider exploring more of our neighborhood in light of this situation to do something constructive if I got bored but my husband had taken out season 3 of Nurse Jackie on DVD before the storm.

Guess what I ended up doing when there was nothing on TV? Watching Nurse Jackie. If you haven't seen it, you should. Accuracy issues aside, it's a well written and well acted show. It's on Showtime, so what else do you expect? I've not seen many crappy shows on the pay channels. The style reminds me a lot of The Sopranos so if you like that show, you'll probably like Nurse Jackie. It does star Edie Falco, after all & you see Jackie do things you wish people would do in real life.

For instance, in one episode she's in a restaurant having lunch with one of the other characters. You overhear the waitress at another table being berated by this jerky business guy. Jackie, instead of leaving it alone as her doctor companion asks, strolls over, says she's the manager & makes this guy look like shit in front of the client he's trying to impress. The waitress is so grateful to Jackie that she comps their meal.

My husband sees this scene & says "You'd totally do something like that." Probably, considering I have & still do know people working in the service industry.

I also watched other DVDs of mine like the movie Casual Sex? (a film I learned about when living with my law school roommate who'd bought it for herself on DVD). Saw The Nightmare Before Christmas yesterday. My husband & I have a literally crazy amount of DVDs; my sister once said we were Blockbuster b/c we have so many. Except we have a lot of stuff you'd never see in the typical video store aside from any of my company's films. There's a decent amount of obscure titles in there & films from earlier decades. Most films we've seen today or in the past decade are "one & done"; you see them once & there's just no re-watchability to them.

I learned other people I know are in the same boat but it still makes you feel like a member of the 1% to have all that while other people have real problems. Unlike some of these 1% motherfuckers like that Mary Wittenburg, the president of NY Road Runners who apparently went on TV and bitched and moaned about how cancelling the NYC Marathon meant all this lost revenue to the city and how all the runners traveling from out of town lost money or Bloomberg (who we already knew was a scumbag), I have a conscience & enough class not to kick people while they are down by closing off roads, diverting resources, setting up generators for the media, etc.

I do agree that it sucks those people flew in from out of the country & all to run in it. I agree they should have been told sooner so they could change their plans. But I don't think they get to displace homeless storm victims for their little marathon or use up resources that could go to the recovery effort or divert police, sanitation workers, and others trying to help victims for a (as I read it in a few places) "frivolous event." The storm was announced everywhere & surely they could have read about the damage it caused. Would these people have gone to New Orleans a week after Katrina to participate in some event that would close off the few open streets, provide comped water bottles, generators, etc. right in the faces of people who don't have power, clean water, etc.?

I will say this: at least there is more leadership around here than New Orleans had after Katrina. Governor Cuomo also wrote a letter to the utility companies saying that they'd better be getting power returned ASAP, they knew about issues and had better fix them or he'd be revoking their licenses to work in this state. That should make you feel a little better about our leadership. I wish more politicians in all areas of office did that & followed through; I'd be a hard core supporter of someone like that. There's too much pussy footing around in government & really in all parts of life. More people need to grow some balls, say "Don't fuck with me or else!" & then follow through.

At this point, I'm just seeing what happens in the next few weeks. Oh, and there IS looting going on in parts of the city that were affected per someone I know who's out there volunteering. Social media updates from people who are present (especially those you know) are more accurate than the media or what some politician says. Don't ever forget that.

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