There is a little bit of tension in NYC. People are losing their patience, tired of being without their precious subway system, having no electricity, heat, and now water, and no one is feeling like there is a need for bonding or hugs with their neighbors. (Climbing 37 flights of stairs in the dark will do that). While it is true that NJ, (almost all of it), Staten Island, Ct. and upstate NY, took a much bigger hit in terms of damage, people crowded together without being able to go to work, without being able to open their businesses, and without cell or wifi service, are simply not happy. Horns are honking in the paralyzed traffic, and there is an occasional frustrated scream from someone on the street who can bear it no longer.
The other day I thought one of the benefits of this terrible disaster, was that you could get any ticket on Broadway, but Broadway was dark. So, I was wrong. It’s happened (rarely but see what a big person I am to admit it.) Turns out the real benefit for me is that some of my best pals, who are from Ca. but visiting NY, were evacuated from downtown, and are staying with me in my mid town apartment – we never lost power. For years we have been talking about how our visits are always so rushed and we wish we could spend more time together. It comes as no surprise that we are having fun. Such a good time that we were feeling a little guilty. But then we think, why should we feel guilty about rediscovering a distant friendship that remains, not only in tact, but has grown over the years. What a gift.
David, never one for missing a good time, made his way into the City last night. And then we were five (people in a small space – our nephew, a refugee from college in Staten Island is here, too.) It helps me to understand how it was for my mom and her siblings, parents and grandparents, (12 people in two bedrooms), when they were growing up. We all think that sharing a small space is difficult, especially when there are big personalities involved, but turns out, it’s not. Maybe if we had to do it for years, it would be a bit more complicated. I don’t know. But it helps you to understand how that close proximity, that kind of intimacy, can be a powerfully great thing. Certainly I now know why, when we grew up, we had one giant parent as opposed to eight individuals. They were so close when they grew up, that, different as they each were, they were all a part of one another. What you learn about yourself and the things that really matter are worth whatever slight inconvenience you may suffer. And, it doesn’t feel like a hardship – it feels like an adventure.
Thankfully, all our friends and family in the Sandy path, are fine. When we look out our window it’s like nothing unusual happened. The fortitude of the people in these areas that were hard hit is something to behold. They have to decide on where they want to spend the rest of their lives. Do they rebuild, do they move on, do they persevere. These are issues with which we do not have to contend. We have experienced robberies and minor flooding. I can’t imagine what it would be like to return to a devastated home which contained all the memories and possessions you collected over the years, and they just don’t exist anymore, I’m not sure what I would do. Hopefully, we will never have to make that decision. I’m likely to persevere, but there would be lot’s of whining. Years ago we spent a couple of great weeks in a rented house in Tuscany. The house came complete with a set of Italian cats, the youngest and most impish of which was a post-adolescent which we named Sandy because of his color. He seemed to like us as much as we liked him. One afternoon David was heating milk in saucepan for coffee, and as he did so, admonished Sandy to stay clear of the stove. He left for a quick second and when he came back into the kitchen, there was Sandy, paws on the edge of the pan, trying to lick his way into warmed Milk-oblivion. David, in his best imitation of Long John Silver, bellowed, “Sandy, ya Betrayed me!” Sandy leapt from the stove and ran out to the freedom of the pooldeck, but the phrase “Sandy, ya Betrayed me!” has stayed with us. It wasn’t until this week that we had another opportunity to bellow that phrase. For surely Sandy has betrayed us. We’re just sayin’… Iris