Lessons from the Hurricane

31 Oct

Before Hurricane Sandy I had a blog post written about my garage sale.  However, due to the hurricane that blog will have to wait for another time.

 First let me say that my heart goes out to those people who have lost loved ones in the storm as well as those whose houses or businesses were lost or damaged.  This was a very devastating storm and makes us all wonder what would happen if a category 2 or 3 hurricane hit Long Island, NY?  We were lucky since the worst of the storm this time did not hit our area and my loved ones, pets, home, and car are all undamaged.

I would like to just speak about my experiences with the storm recognizing through out this writing  that we are very lucky.  We are one of the hundreds of thousands on Long Island (over 800,000) who have lost our power.  There are downed trees and wires all over the place and no traffic signal lights working so driving remains hazardous.  The storm knocked out the power to our house since 6 PM on Monday.  There is also no cell phone service.  No power means, no heat, hot water, stove, internet, laundry, lights and so on.  From this we are being forced to live simply.

  Last night (Tuesday), in the dark, we mistakenly drove around in search of food we didn’t have to make ourselves (mostly my partner’s desires).  What we found was our entire down town with no electricity, no businesses opened and trees still down with wires laying across the road, or hanging down precariously.  It was a very scary scene and a scary drive.  After losing my composure a bit, my partner (who was driving) reminded me that it was my job to keep him calm.  Boy did that switch my behavior really quickly.  I now had a job to keep my eyes peeled on the road in front of us and calmly warn him of dangers ahead.  Finally after a long ride we found a diner right by our house that had just regained power and opened.

 We sat in the diner that had one waiter, one busser, and one manager; and we waited for service- calmly. We watched others give up and walk out.  We watched one woman who seemed to have forgotten that 90% of the area has no power and we just came through a very dangerous storm.  She expected business as usual, and she peered and glared at the diner staff, she stood up at her table with her arms crossed, scowl on her face and asked everyone who passed if someone was going to take her order since they have been waiting a long time (mind you she came in after us and was only waiting a few minutes).  Her daughter was obviously embarrassed by her behavior because you could hear her pleading with her mother to knock it off.  But her mother didn’t, she continued to be annoyed and to let everyone know it.  Her energy permeated over to our table and unfortunately I allowed it to affect me negatively and make me anxious.  I was trying to will her with my mind to take a seat and patiently wait (we all know how good that always works).  Finally she got up and left.  We still sat patiently, eventually ordered, and then sat patiently for about a half an hour waiting for our simple order of turkey burger and chicken fingers.  When our food came we were ecstatic to have some hot food in front of us.  We didn’t care that it was missing a piece of cheese or some lettuce on the plate.  When we were done eating we left the waiter a 40% tip (for his hard work, dedication and pleasant attitude even after having to deal with people like that difficult woman) and we went home to our dark, cold house.

 Soon our house became warm and lovely. Not warm in temperature because we still didn’t have electricity, but warm with glowing candles that lit every room.  It felt cozy and intimate.  We made some hot water for tea on the BBQ outback, sat with our tea at the dining room table and played games by candle light with much conversation and laughter.  I thought how nice this is, the house is dead quiet and still; with no TV on, no music playing, no oil burner running, and no dryer balls bouncing and tumbling.  Stillness and quiet.  How nice.  How serene.  And rather than sitting and facing the TV with a bunch of talking heads annoying us with political news, we sat facing each other engaging in dialogue and silly games.

 Isn’t this what the desire for simple should be?  To keep things in perspective, to appreciate what we have, to have patience and understanding, to treat others with respect, to listen to others, to express our feelings and views calmly, and to enjoy the simple things of life.  After this experience I hope to take something from it to implement into my life.  Perhaps besides a “date night” we should have a “black out night”, no TV, no radios, no music, no lights, no laptops, ipads, smart phones, nothing running (including ourselves).  Well maybe we could put the heat on and use the stove top; but besides that, stillness, darkness, peace and quiet.  Wishing everyone some peace and serenity in your days and nights.

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