Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurroween in the NYC

Well, I don't know if you can make out the pic below but that's basically what it looks like in real life as well as on camera.  It's a sign on my neighbor's door that she clearly posted before fleeing the scene, graciously leaving some sweet treats behind.  I don't want to call it "stygian darkness" as that might be a tad dramatic, and surely there's another circle of hell to be had somewhere....I just can't think of it now.

Hurricane Sandy made landfall in NYC around 6pm on Monday night and as I pooh-poohed her, she made me pay, oh yes, she did!  I went to bed amidst a light rainfall albeit fairly gusting winds and woke up in a near-post-apocalyptic nightmare.  Everything has been shut down below 26th Street for the past 72 hours.  EVERYTHING.  You can practically see tumbleweeds wafting across 7th Avenue.

Now, I'm not exactly a stranger to power outages having lived in rural Tanzania for nearly five years full-stop, so I know how to make do without electricity.  But I will say that this particular scenario of not having juice in a Western country is a bit surreal.  I suppose that when I'm living here in the States - and particularly this year, 2012, when I have been here more than I have in TZ - I do take for granted that things are supposed to work properly.  And quickly.  And without question.  When I'm in the Tanz, it's kind of become a foregone conclusion that some kind of snafu is going to occur whether it's natural disaster, bureaucratic chakachua, or tomfoolery of some other sort.  Hold-ups, run-arounds, and shenanigans of every type under the sun are not only not aberrations, they are the norm.

But Sandy is different than a TZ power outage as it has been a full three days of darkness with no abatement.  And worse than the dark is the cold.  Additionally, for the most part in TZ, power cuts are due to rationing rather than inclement weather though I've experienced the latter as well, particularly in the rainy season, a nuisance but ironically essential as TZ relies on hydro-electric power.  Still, though everyone in TZ complains bitterly about TANESCO, their response time to most of the issues seems immeasurably better than what we are experiencing with Sandy!  I get that New York has a much higher demand and more sophisticated electrical requirements than a small town in Kilimanjaro and I honestly don't mean to malign Con Ed or any other emergency personnel, but you would think that the powers-that-be would have a system in place for when these things occur.  Hapana.  Here we are in the greatest city in the world, the nexus of the universe, the place terrorized by King Kong and Godzilla, saved by Batman and Spidey, where Jay-Z experienced an empire state of mind, where Harry met Sally, where Rosemary had a baby, and where a tree grew in Brooklyn....I know there was nothing we could have done about the storm itself; I just wish we could have been a little more up to the task of getting up and running again, particularly in areas where there was no significant damage or destruction.

Anyway, though I may bemoan no internet, no television, no hot water, no refrigeration, no New York Sports Club, no Starbucks, no Halloween parade, and no New York City marathon for the next few days, I've actually been very lucky.  There is some serious suffering going on out there and the temperature is dropping.  So, a heartfelt pole sana to all those affected by this storm in any way and, hopefully by next week's post, things will be back to normal.  (My South Carolina kayaking entry is almost done, so you'll get to feast your eyes on that in a couple days.)

Be safe everybody!

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