As I stand here at the kitchen counter banging out this blog entry on my laptop, I am thinking about all of the things I count on in my everyday life. I am standing at the counter instead of sitting because I am one of the lucky ones: we have a generator that pushes power to the refrigerator, the well, one electrical outlet in the kitchen, and the cable box in my bedroom. So my laptop is plugged in to that one outlet next to the sink, and here I stand. One of the lucky ones. And I’m thinking about what Hurricane Sandy has done and left behind, and how if affects our lives.
First, without electricity, I notice how quiet it is, both inside and outside my house. No buzzing, no music, no humming, a complete absence of the sounds that have been woven into my daily fabric since I was born. I don’t miss it as much as I notice that it is not there. The quiet is kind of nice. And I am sleeping better, and I am sleeping more too. There is not much to do after dark now, and no blinking lights from the cable box to wake me in the middle of the night. And it makes me wonder that, although I don’t seem to need more than a few hours sleeps on a regular basis, maybe we did get more rest before the invention of electricity. Thanks dudes (too many to name http://www.electricityforum.com/who-invented-electricity.html ).
Living out in the woods means we have a well with a pump that runs on power. So when the lights go out, so does the water. Before Sandy arrived, we filled a bathtub so we could flush the toilets, and we filled containers and pitchers so we and our dog and cats could drink. At that point we did not have the generator up and running, and we were not sure if it would power the well. At the grocery store nearest our home, the first empty shelves had housed Poland Springs and their competitors. Apparently all of my neighbors have wells and pumps too.
When our electricity went off, because many of our trees in the area came down on the wires, all of the stores for miles around closed up. No Dunkin’ Donuts, gas stations, restaurants, bars, CVS, Target, Staples. It’s a strange feeling not to be able to just drive down the road to pick up some “necessity.” Yesterday the grocery store managed to open for a couple of hours; they have limited generators, but not too many employees could make it in. The roads around here are blocked by downed trees and wires, making it difficult or impossible to get from point A to point B. Another thing I take for granted is the usefulness of my car in getting around. Nothing wrong with my car due to Sandy; but the roads are all but impassible. It has been two days since the hurricane and there is no sign of these local streets being opened. The town trucks are busy in more populated areas. Same goes for Con Edison, our electric company. We are probably last in line since we are in a more rural area.
My cell phone service, including texting, is very spotty. I have had more luck staying in touch through Facebook and email, which seems funny but there it is. So I sit here at home, wishing everything would go back to normal. I want to be at work with my little cuties, as we are missing one of my fav holidays, Halloween. I want my power back and my cell service and my cable and my stores and my roads. I realize I am whining, and it makes me sound weak. You should know that I am a camper, and I know how to survive without a lot of things. But I am not camping right now, and I want my life back the way it was.
As I said, I am one of the lucky ones who just has to wait a few more days or weeks, and then until the next storm, everything will be back to normal. I cannot forget those who lost loved ones or their entire homes and neighborhoods in this mess. Theirs is a new normal that I cannot even imagine. Thoughts and prayers go out to them all.