Last night, I briefed you on my Hurricane Sandy experience, which was a tea party compared to some of the things my friends endured. A buddy of mine works as a Fox News cameraman and almost got swept away by the water. Another pal hasn’t been able to reach her mother, who resides in Jersey. One of my coworkers, who is supposed to get married in a few weeks, has a flooded home. I haven’t heard anything good, but the upside is that Sandy has already wreaked havoc on our town. Now all we have to do is mop up the mess she left.
Things aren’t going to be normal for a while, though. As I mentioned in the previous blog post, my apartment won’t have power for another week. Our courtyard flooded and is covered with trash and waste, so you can imagine how lovely it smells.
Our embattled, overextended landlord hasn’t bothered to put any candles in the building, so safety remains an issue for those climbing up and down the stairs at night. It feels like we’re living in a prison, and no one knows when we’re going to have hot water or electricity again. I had to stay at a friend’s place last night just to shower. God knows when I’ll be able to do that again. I’m in survival mode, which doesn’t suit me. I may have been a Girl Scout back in the day, but I was the weakest link. I couldn’t survive in a third world country. I’d just collapse.
I’m not sure I know how to express just how terrified I was the moment Sandy charged through the upper east side. The concrete wall separating my apartment building and the one next door completely collapsed, the street outside my building was flooded with East River water, and there was an eleven foot pool of water right beneath my window. I feared the water would rise up and pour into my apartment, which would become yet another casualty of the monstrous, ruthless storm. That didn’t happen, but my neighborhood is mostly at a standstill right now. Stoplights aren’t working, I have no power, and the building is essentially a sewer. I’m going to have nightmares about this forever, mainly because I’ve always had bad dreams about bodies of water.
For years, I’ve had the same recurring nightmare about waves, which almost always carry me away. On Saturday and Sunday, my mom and I dreamed of my late dad, leading me to believe something very bad was ahead. Was he coming to collect me? Some said he was simply acting as my guardian angel, but this notion didn’t soothe me in the least. I feel like his spirit has been gone for many years, so his return seemed more frightening than comforting.
At any rate, I didn’t meet my demise, unlike nearly two dozen tragic Sandy victims. It could have happened had I followed my instinct to dash uptown in the eye of the storm. As my roommate put it, for someone as high-strung as I am, I take a lot of dumb risks, like going out to get coffee the day of the storm and considering running thirty blocks to Harlem just to be in a powered building. Not rational, but who can be rational at a time like that?
Luckily everyone looked out for each other that night. I met some of my neighbors, who invited me out to the bar after the water returned to the East River. I was so out of it, I didn’t even react when one of the girls spilled an entire glass of beer on my iPhone, which came out of the incident unscathed. My roommate spent much of the night trying to calm me down, and eventually I was able to get my heart rate down and chill out. I just never want to be in that situation again. I think I may have drowned or something in a previous life because waves and large bodies of water have been haunting my dreams for many years, and I truly feared my nightmare had become a reality Monday evening.
It’s over now, but the effects will be felt for a long time, especially to those who lost their homes, loved ones, or lives.