Hurricane/Superstorm/Frankenstorm Sandy has wreaked havoc in New York and the surrounding areas – the tempest smashed into the Northeast last week, knocked out power for millions, destroyed or damaged thousands of homes, killed at least three dozen people and caused untold suffering, heartache, inconvenience and pain for the multitudes.
Yet, for me, it hardly even touched my life.
I have lived in New York City for more than twenty years – I have endured a number of crises: the blackout in the summer of 2003, Hurricane Irene last year; the 9-11 terror attacks of 2001; and any number of searing heat waves, Nor-easters, blizzards and various other disasters.
And I have always been left unscathed by these traumas.
In the latest New York drama, Sandy – the biggest local natural disaster in memory – did not impact my life too much at all. My electric power remained 'on,' stores in my neighborhood were (mostly) open the day after the storm, and I lacked for nothing.
Last Tuesday, under a soft mist, I went out into my neighborhood on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to survey the 'damage' wrought by the storm. Aside from a few fallen trees and some closed stores, everything was quite normal.
The only 'inconvenience' I faced was that I was forced to work from home since my office downtown was flooded out and the subways were out of commission. However, not having to get up at 5:30 pm and ride the dreary subway to work is not much of a 'hardship.' And since I don't own a car, the gas shortage means nothing to me.
Working from home is not ideal, but it has its advantages – I need not dress, I don't have to attend meetings, and I can enjoy all the comforts of home.
Yet, I am highly sensitive to the difficulties faced by all the people whose lives have been disrupted by this massive storm, particularly those who live in the devastated shore communities in Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey.
I just wish – for once – I was more 'engaged' in these periodic disasters so that I could 'feel' more a part of the community (and also enjoy a sense of 'adventure').
For example, during the 9-11 attacks, I lost no friends, family nor loved ones. My office on Wall Street was closed for a week and I donated blood at a local hospital – but I felt very 'distant' and 'removed' from all the drama that surrounded me. It was like watching a strange movie that involved only other people.
And that feeling remained with Sandy.