(This is what I wrote last year on November 11th after power returned.)
12 Days, 22 hours, and probably a few minutes…
“If I were born in the 1800’s, I’d be dead in a week.”
Hurricane Sandy afforded me the opportunity to get many laughs with that comment.
It also confirmed that I am a product of the 21st Century.
Most important Before Sandy –
1- Family (wife, son, daughter)
2- Basics (food, water, shelter)
4- Everything else
After Sandy –
4- Everything else
I need electricity for practically everything I do, including flushing the toilet. (I have a well.)
When I was 10 years old, all I needed was my bike and my “Man from Uncle” spy gun. Connecting to the outside world? I had my land-line phone.
2012 – I’m at the mall (thankfully it’s open) sitting on the floor with dozens of other folks charging my phone and ipad, and connecting to the outside world. That’s – email, fb, news, entertainment, etc.
My day without electricity –
Arise out of bed at 8:30 AM. Cold. Get dressed. Listen to my battery powered radio. Maybe answer a land-line phone call. Eat something for breakfast. At 10 AM wake up daughter. She dresses. We go to the High School/Red Cross Shelter to get warm/coffee and food. Next we travel to the mall (previously mentioned) to charge our gadgets, go on the internet and stay warm. We return either noontime (for lunch in the shelter) or 2 PM, depending on how we feel. In the afternoon we shower in the gym. (Never in my wildest imagination did I EVER think that I’d be showering in a high school gym decades after graduating.) Then we might go home to fill-the-time doing “something” at home, besides being cold, or we’d stay at the school, staying warm, reading, talking to people and wondering, “when are we getting our power back?”
By 6:30 PM it was dinner time. After that, we’d return to the “sitting area” (the gym) and stay there until 9:30 – 10 PM. Then it was time to go home. (My daughter and I wanted to sleep in our beds at home and not in the school.)
At home, with a flashlight that didn’t leave my side, I’d light some candles, sit on the couch and listen to the radio. My daughter went into her room to go to bed. By 10:30 I’d retire to bed under “many layers” of blankets and wearing a hat. Even though it was around 44 degrees in the house, we were still pretty warm. (It was getting up in the morning that was difficult.)
As a pro photographer I did not do what many other photographers probably would have in this circumstance – document the disaster. I took a few photos, but just didn’t have it in me to go out.
For the record, Hurricane Sandy only “inconvenienced” me. My house was not damaged by falling trees and my family was safe. (My wife stayed with her parents because of her job and my son was away at college.) But it gave me a closer understanding of some of what real victims go through with a disaster. It’s the fact that you just sit around and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. That part is not easy.
The one great thing that did happen during this event – I spent almost 2 weeks with just my daughter. We’ve always been close, but now I think that we’re a little closer.
The photograph above was taken a few blocks from my house.
2013 – There are still people who aren’t back in their homes.
Still living day to day wondering when they will get the help that they need.
A volunteer helping to clean up from SuperStorm Sandy.