Monday, November 5, 2012

Civil Defense

I am glad the sun is shining. My apartment is cold, but not because of the storm. It just is in winter.

What we've lost to sandy is only peripheral -a flooded studio basement that means no heat there, and a garden out on the Rockaway peninsula, and a week of lost pay.

On Saturday, we responded to a last minute, urgent call for hot food for 100 volunteers at the Red Hook farm run by Added Value. After a shopping sprint, we headed down to the farm, setting up our extra large camp stove and ingredients amongst 75 or so volunteers doing cleanup. There were only a couple of boxes of coffee and a pizza, so we felt confident we did the right thing. By the time we had our water boiling, ten or fifteen other people had arrived with several foil trays of pre-cooked hot food. I felt pretty dumb. There was now more food than this group could consume and our cooking had only begun. I turned off the stove, packed it up, and headed to the BBG to find respite.

Some folks may maintain that they have been largely unaffected by the storm, but I hardly think that is true. This is a stressful time for everyone in the region, whether you are high and dry or not. For us the constant horns from the gas lines a block away, or the continual fb updates about what is needed and where, the dropping needle on the fuel gauge. It's my cousin in Red Hook who needs a place to live with his girlfriend and Great Dane (do cats like Danes?). It's family and friends on LI who have been without power and are running on empty. It may even be a farm out on the east end that should've been set up by now and continues to have to wait (a source of stress for all of October).

This Sunday I started to feel ill. Today, the throat is sore and the sneezing never ends. I think of all the people at their damaged homes, in shelters, sleeping on floors. The cold is here to stay. The stress on them is enormous. Wednesday's weather will exacerbate all that is not working. What happens as they get colds or the flu?

As a city, we were unprepared for the entirety of effects of this storm. I thought I was, but now I see that I was a prepared individual, not a prepared citizen, and not nearly as prepared emotionally as I thought.


  1. I hope you feel better soon Frank. We will all live with the impact of this storm for a long time. Just as we did (and do) live with the impact of 9/11. This stuff is huge and inescapable. But we will prevail and move forward. Really, what choice do we have? So nurse your cold and get some rest.

  2. I think the best thing I did, besides get up this morning, was vote and then go to work in spite of my cold.


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