Seeing your home state on television via disaster-oriented marathon is more surreal than anything else. I’m not from the Jersey shore area, but I like any other NJ native I’ve have spent many summer days along the boardwalks of Seaside and Atlantic City, current mainstays in the news cycle when it isn’t remembering there is an election in a couple of days. I’m closer to NYC, and haven’t had the mess others have been having apart from losing power for a couple of days and not being able to make it to work. I am incredibly lucky. If nothing else, this storm has been an inconvenience for me. I still have my home, access to food, and I never lost my plumbing. Too many people had it much worse than I did. I didn’t anticipate the amount of damage the storm cause- I don’t think anyone really did. It was a dark, gloomy weekend before the storm, and I spent the day the storm hit wondering when I’d lose power. It went at 7 in the evening that Monday and didn’t come back until early Friday morning. The days went by fast, and it felt like a pretty long weekend.
When I ventured out of town, however, I got to see some real distress. I saw trees through houses and cars, endless lines of people waiting for gas, a grocery store stripped of essentials with closed off refrigerators with “Do Not Buy” warnings taped to the doors. People walked around dazed and tired, not knowing what to do. When you spend days without power and hear of looting going on in towns around you, you get nervous. So far, so safe. My town enforced a temporary curfew- who could do much around town in sheer darkness, anyway? I can report that drivers around here were super courteous on the roads which made getting around a lot easier and safer than it could have been without any street lights and not enough cops around to direct every road.
So now everyone’s in clean up and recovery mode. I’ve heard many stores about friends and relatives of friends being displaced and losing everything. Ever wake up to find fish in your basement? When’s the last time you watched your cars float away? Ever walk around and die from electrocution when walking into a puddle? Right now is all about getting back to normalcy: back to work, back to running errands and back to living our lives. With word of a possible Nor’easter hitting us this next week, we’re all a little uneasy. Who knows? We have lived through them before, and hopefully this is less daunting than it seems. If you can, donate to the Red Cross. Donate something. Show compassion to others. Not too far from me, there are people who will have to forget Christmas this year. There are people who have to rebuild every bit of their lives. We have our lives, our health and our future. That’s what counts.