At 2:30 pm this afternoon, we have been officially without power for a week. Unheard of in our neck of the woods! Pre-Sandy, folks lost it if we were without power for more than a few hours! As strangers meet, the first thing asked is "Do you have power?" The second is "Do you know where to find gas?" Long Island is like a newly emerging third world country these days. All the creature comforts we took for granted, without thinking, are now precious commodities. Speaking of precious things, our Serenity comes through yet again to take care of us. We have been living aboard since Tuesday October 30th. She is well lit and warm (rocking a bit in tonight's breeze), our fridge/freezer and wine fridge still well stocked and our TV keeps us in touch with the world. Despite the shift from our everyday lives, I find it wondrous to wake to the sound of seagulls and the sight of water reflected on the ceiling - on a workday!
In my office this morning, there was a rumor that a near-by gas station was providing gas to first responders and nurses. One of the partners and I hopped into his car, my nursing license in hand, only to be turned away by a genuinely sorry police officer. He explained that a nurse was not their description of a first responder (I sure hope he never finds himself in a situation when a nurse is the first responder to try to save his life). Besides, the gas station was only open between 8 and 11 each day as long as the gas supply held up (it was 11:05).
I got creative Sunday morning and asked another of the partners to carpool with me. Since he only lives a very short distance from the marina, this was a great idea. On the ride home, we both got even more creative and decided to try our luck on the Long Island Rail Road tomorrow morning. The normally busy Pt. Jeff line has limited service for now, so we decided to try the 9:36. Luckily for us, the office is the 3rd stop, a 17 minute ride, and lets us off right across the street from the office. As a former commuter on the LIRR, a 17 minute ride sure beats my 62 minute ride (each direction) every day!
Hurricane Sandy taught Long Island a lesson in humility. For all the taxes we pay, we are no better off in receiving restored services than the towns many Long Islanders would never consider driving through, never mind residing in. We have to wait our turn for power, gas, food and the other services that make living here so special. Our very topography - gorgeous beaches, heavily treed winding roads and streets discreetly lit by ornamental lamps - has made our communities vulnerable to Mother Nature's wrath.
Our days are now spent wondering when our lives will resume its usual rhythm, when our homes will be lit and warm again, when we can drive our cars without anxiously peering at the gas gauge every 20 seconds and squirming in frustration when stopped at a rail crossing for more than a minute.
One valuable lesson I think we all learned is that despite our inconveniences, discomforts and annoyances, all that matters is that those we love are safe, with a roof over their heads and out of harm's way.
Seems a simple fact of life, but Sandy had a way of re-arranging our thoughts.
I hope that any of you recovering from Sandy's after-effects get your lives back to normal quickly - and in a better way than ever before.