Sunday, November 11th, 2012. Day 14 After Superstorm Sandy – 1st Blog Since the Storm
Two weeks ago today, New Yorkers as well as most people along the entire Eastern Seaboard of the US were busy bracing themselves for a super storm named Sandy. Initially dubbed a Hurricane but later re-categorised as a “super-storm” due to its fierce and unpredictable nature. It did not help that she was barreling towards the East on the anniversary of “The Perfect Storm of 1991” aka the “Halloween Nor’easter of 1991” which devastated and destroyed and was even the inspiration behind the book and 2000 Hollywood movie ‘The Perfect Storm.’ Little did we know that we were bracing for record-breaking uncharted type of storm of our own.
As I scrambled along with fellow New Yorkers at supermarkets and hardware shops to buy essentials, I could not help but overhear the conversations of people who were down-right-scared there were leaving town to those who believed the storm was all a big fuss, like most naysayers who were unaffected by and survived Hurricane Irene last year. I thought to myself, especially in response to the naysayers…why don’t you just keep all that negative energy to yourselves? Why are you in this shop if you think “she aint even coming like that?” (a direct quote from a fellow shopper I wish I could have a word with after the fact) sigh. On Sunday night, the winds were already fierce enough in my neck of the woods that I could hardly get from my car to any given shop without having to grab on to something to keep from being knocked off my feet. Sure, I’m no psychic but I could tell that it was not going to be some passing-rains type of storm. I live in Zone B. We were not supposed to be affected by or evacuated due to Sandy. Little did we know.
So what did we lose in the flood besides for most…property, for some… loved ones and for all…sense of normalcy? How about our humanity? In Sandy’s wake there are actually people out there trying to capitalise on the misery of others, setting up fake charities and whatnot for their own gain. How about our initiative? Two weeks later and many still remain without electricity or gas or food or homes. You cannot watch the news without seeing at least someone representative of a forgotten neighbourhood who has managed to reach someplace where there is a news-crew for them to vent their frustrations to/at. How about our compassion? I was at a departmental store last evening (there to purchase a new washer/dryer and to confirm the delivery of my water heater which was purchased last week) and a sales associate casually said to me “well at least you got a 10% discount” as if she was doing me a favour. Another associate who was standing casually by her reminded the former saying “don’t forget installation is an additional $199 and if she doesn’t pay it, it will not get installed.” I was flabbergasted. Neither employee acted as if there had been a life-changing storm, when the same body of water that flows behind their establishment is the same water that came to flood out my neighbourhood, surely they must have seen it on the news? If they were not situated so high up, that same body of water could have flooded them out and they would be out of the job and maybe they would have had a little more compassion in that scenario. Shouldn’t big chains (and please believe that I am really reeling it in and trying not to mention the name of the chain because the initial associate did apologise for her insensitivity later on) train their employees on how to be sensitive towards customers who might be victims of the super storm or some kind of disaster? Why do people act so casual with their jobs? After Sandy sailed through my basement and damaged every single equipment in there and after being told by every single insurance agent or policy holder that they do not cover “acts of God…such as flood” to actually go out to a shop and begin replacing those appliances only to be insulted by its employees as if I came there to get the items for free is an insult on top of an injury. What is happening to the world? How about our sense of decorum? In Sandy’s wake there has been a shortage of fuel with most gas stations hanging police tape around their pumps to signify that they are closed and not selling fuel. At the gas stations that do have fuel for sale, there are people cutting in line ahead of others who have been waiting hours even days in the frigid weather for their turn resorting in officers being called in to maintain order. In the neighbourhoods without electricity, residents have had to turn vigilante and stand guard over what is left of their property to keep looters out. In Coney Island (in Brooklyn) a Rent-A-Centre was reportedly looted and I could not help but ask myself how anything a shop that rents out electronics turned out to be a place to be looted for essential commodities? Unless of course these looters are not looting for essential commodities? It fails me. How about our dignity? There was a listing on a popular online trading site where someone was offering sexual services in exchange for fuel? How about our sense of decency? By now you must have heard of the model who went to pose seductively atop the debris left behind in Sandy’s path of destruction. What is wrong with people? To put things into perspective, Sandy was a category 1 hurricane when she was heading towards the Northeast and hurricane Katrina was a category 5 hurricane. I cannot even imagine a category 2 hurricane in New York City and the day such a warning comes, I will evacuate even if my zone is not slated to be affected.
Many people lost their lives in the storm or as a result of the storm, countless others lost their lively hood. Many have to start rebuilding their lives from scratch. We have heard so many tales of woe as well as tales of triumph. I have a neighbour who lost everything in the storm and I have a neighbour who lost absolutely nothing in the storm. The road to recovery for many will seem like forever and many people will never be the same as a result of what they went through. The same storm that brought you this story:
brought you this:
I lived through the storm with my humanity and sense of decorum intact and I am even stronger in spite of adversity. But my plea is this: If you have nothing nice to say about this catastrophic event, please say nothing at all. And if you have an ounce of compassion in you for those who are suffering please do whatever you can to help. We are all citizens of the world. Charity begins at home. If you do not know where to start, start with the oldest and perhaps the most reputable charity there is out there, The American Red Cross and make sure to tell them your donation is for Sandy relief and recovery. Do not add to the problem, be a part of the solution. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Be dignified.
N.B. For those of you reporting typos, I am a British transplant so forgive my British English spelling of most American words. Thank you.