Friday, November 02, 2012

Thanks Amidst the Storm

**** This is my story of how the Hurricane affected some of the comparatively least affected areas. For many others it has been much worse ***

Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey on Monday October 29, 2012. The radius of the hurricane was reported to be around 200 miles and there were high winds and rains much before the actual 'eye' hit, and even after. The Jersey Shore is used to getting tropical storms and hurricanes, but this was nothing like they'd ever seen before. This was bigger than Irene, which hit last year, and was on the news for days and days before the storm. Governor Christie ordered evacuation of the barrier islands and people were urged to prepare by purchasing non-perishable food, gas, batteries, and candles.

Further up north, miles and miles away from Atlantic City and the coast, there was the underlying doubt of impact. We bought cans of soup and flashlight batteries, not really thinking we'd have to use them. But just in case.  Just in case this storm was as bad as they said it would be. And Monday night as the lights started to flicker, we started to believe that this thing was really happening. Flicker, flicker, and then they went out. Wow, this is for real.

With lit candles and noise as loud as you can imagine we sat and waited for this hurricane to pass. Listening to the radio on limited battery and staying as far from the windows as possible. I sat in the bathroom, with some music, a candle, and a comfy chair, to be in the safest place possible. One ear plugged to the music, and one ear listening to what was going on in case an emergency arose. For me though, that was it. And it passed, and I was fine. Tuesday morning I woke up, happy that it was over. But the aftermath was not over, that was just beginning.

New Jersey residents (and other surrounding residents) have been without power for days. No light, no heat, no refrigerator. We've had to charge our cell phones in our car so that we could reach our families and tell them we were safe. Cell phone reception has been spotty, and it's been hard to contact everyone, especially with "LAN" lines that are connected through the internet (bad idea). Lines to get gas have been ridiculous, with fights breaking out and people waiting anywhere from 2-4 hours to get gas. Bad guys have been looting shops, making an already devastating situation even worse. Commuters going into NY have had to carpool in groups of 3 to use the bridge (which, on short notice, can be difficult), and drivers have had to drive different routes on streets without traffic lights. It's so dark outside, I haven't driven outside past 6:30pm.

But I write all this to say, that my story is not a sad story. My family and I are fine. My friends are fine. I haven't lost a house or anything that really mattered. Sure, I'm inconvenienced by not having heat and having to sleep elsewhere; driving the long way to avoid dangerous left turns; and whatever else I haven't had access to, but we're in this together. And I really feel for those along the coast,  in Atlantic City, and in the Caribbean that have lost tons more than I have. We really need to remember to be thank God for all that we do have and not complain.

Thanks to PSE&G and the electric companies for getting power back.

Thanks to those working overtime to make sure we are safe.

Thanks to the cops on the street to keep order.

Thanks to the gas attendants and truck drivers delivering gas.

Thanks to the supermarkets and workers who are showing up so we can get fresh food.

Thanks to Governor Christie and President Obama for all the national aid to those that need it.

So remember that now is the time to be thankful for what you DO have and not complain about what you DON'T have.