I'll admit it. I didn't take Sandy seriously until Monday night around 10pm when 90mph winds finally knocked our power out.
Take away a girl's ability to blow dry her hair, and it's amazing how fast she will start paying attention.
Suddenly starved of never-ending television news feed, the fear of not knowing took over. I lay in bed listening to the wind, waiting for the ominous crack of "that tree" to come crashing through the roof above my head.
In the morning, a friend called on my dwindling cell phone to report in - the subways, the tunnels, the fires, the failed generator in the hospital...described in vivid, horrifying detail. "I have to go. My battery is dying." I didn't want to hear any more. It was only 8am - what else was yet to be reported? I felt guilty for being so cavalier about the threats all weekend.
OK, Sandy. You win this one.
All morning, as the pictures and the stories unfolded, I felt on the brink of tears with a vague nausea in my stomach. Surviving the storm suddenly seemed like the easy part - now it looked like long dreary weeks lay ahead of us to slowly put the city back together. Adrenaline rush over, I yearned for normal life.
But then something cool happened. Then the victories started coming out. Amidst the rubble, cool things were happening - things that were BETTER than if Sandy hadn't visited.
My downtown NYC friends without power or water migrated north, camping out together, chatting the evening away over bottles of wine. Someone told me they had to reschedule a very stressful interview in Florida, which meant 5 more weeks of angst, but also 5 more weeks to prepare, and next time she won't have to rush back so she is going to make a holiday out of it. My friend recovering from surgery last week got to spend this week working calmly from home, healing and relaxing.
For me, our *awesome* New York Times feature in the Sunday Styles section had a captive audience all day Monday, on top of Sunday, and we had near record breaking sales.
And suddenly, with so much gone, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for the things I had left. My home still has no power, but thankfully my studio was powered up. So we plan to take hot showers and cook meals here for the next week or so until the grid comes back on. It's inconvenient. But rather than complain, I find myself thanking the Universe all day long. Staples was open and I got to buy printer ink - Yes!! Printer ink!!
There are so many tragic stories from Sandy's devastation. So many people who have it so much worse than me, and my heart goes out to them. But I also believe that from every tragedy, comes something good. Even if it's a tiny thing. And it doesn't make up for all the bad things, but maybe it offsets it a little bit. Like meeting a new friend. Or spending evenings by candlelight talking with your family, instead of glazed over the television. Or simply experiencing the sincere kindness that people show one another in desperate times. Sandy, like other tragedies before her, has brought out the best in us. I'm proud to be a New Yorker, and I'm reminded how much I love this place.
So, in a strange way, thanks Sandy.