Hurricane Sandy – How Lucky Am I?

It’s 4 am and I can’t sleep. I scrolled through Facebook–the usual sleep-inducer–and found myself inspired more than tired. The typical political divisiveness from my friends on both sides of the aisle had been replaced by acts of kindness and pleas for help.

Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast this week. I was lucky enough to preserve power, water, gas, Internet and cable (theoretically, since I don’t have a TV–but I’m not one of those “no-TV” snobs, don’t worry)–and it’s taken me all this time to express my gratitude to the universe. How privileged am I without knowing? Hordes of people that I follow on Facebook were just getting their power turned on today. I can’t imagine what they must have been going through this week.

My friends are incredible. Hannah, who I’ve known since my first days at college, has been volunteering and encouraging others to volunteer with various organizations across the city to clean up the mess the hurricane left behind. Others are getting involved, too, and I am so touched to see this.

And, one of the more startling realities presented by Sandy, the gas situation blows my mind. On Friday night, MDP and I saw a line of 50+ people waiting with gas cans outside of the local Hess station. Tonight, the lights of Hess were out. Cars seemed to be abandoned in the gas lines. I suppose Hess ran out and so did customers, so they left their cars there and took the (now working) subway home. I wondered how any of the cars on Queens Boulevard were even operating, given the gas shortage that we’re facing. My darling friend Amy told me about the gas rationing system New Jersey has employed, and how her one car (with an even number on the license plate) can get gas one day and the other car (with an odd number) can get gas the other day (but then, on Facebook, people were talking about license plates ending in letters and this sounded like something the good people who run New Jersey didn’t consider). What decade are we in? The 70s?

So, really, how lucky am I? My mother lost power, my friend Kristina’s parents won’t have power until next Friday, people I don’t know and never will know have lost the homes they poured their life savings into, the boardwalks of my most beloved shore towns have disappeared, and here I am, conveniently sitting at my computer at 4 am, typing away in my neat, unscathed apartment. I am incredibly lucky.

To everyone who lost power, water, everything in the hurricane: my thoughts are with you. I am sincerely sorry that so many have suffered so greatly during this past week. If I can help, I will.

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