Three days and two nights. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Meet Mike at the cor­ner of 31st Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan after the busi­ness part of his trip was fin­ished. Get out of the coun­try, con­nect with a good friend, return with some nice mem­o­ries. That was the plan, but I never caught my plane home.

A day before Hurricane Sandy landed, all flights at LaGuardia were can­celled, a theme that would con­tinue two more times until the air­line resched­uled my return for Saturday, almost a week longer than I had orig­i­nally planned to stay (and that’s if it’s not can­celled again). Mike made it home to London, Liz and I weren’t so lucky.

They were expect­ing 6–9 feet of water, and we got 14. The pres­i­dent has declared a state of emer­gency. All mass tran­sit is shut down. The rail­road tun­nels are flooded. All air­ports are closed. School is out for the whole week. The New York Stock Exchange has been closed for two days straight, some­thing that hasn’t hap­pened since 1888. More than 2.5 mil­lion are with­out power. The death toll is over 100 and counting.

Luckily, I have a place to stay. Aside from a brief loss of power, a longer loss of inter­net access, and a few leaks from the ceil­ing, we’re sit­ting pretty with run­ning water, heat, and a flush­able toi­let. It’s a lux­ury com­pared to what oth­ers are going through at the shel­ters, and I con­sider myself for­tu­nate com­pared to those in New Jersey who’ve lost their homes, their pets, their pos­ses­sions, and their lives.

The strange part is that I’ve never met the cou­ple who own this Brooklyn apart­ment. Liz and Mike found them through Roomorama, and they left before the storm hit, leav­ing Liz with the main bed­room and Mike with the guest room. They’ve been gen­er­ous enough to let me stay dur­ing this exten­u­at­ing cir­cum­stance, although the fact that they rented out the guest room to some­one else two days ago means I’ve been rel­e­gated to a nook and mat­tress on the floor. At least it’s cozy, and there’s a spare mattress.

Still, I wasn’t pre­pared for this. I’m run­ning out of money, med­ica­tion, and morale. The only things I brought were a change of clothes, a cam­era, and an iPad. The worst part is the wait. Not hav­ing a com­puter to be pro­duc­tive, and now a week of can­celled plans. Not hav­ing my cats1 or my gui­tar. Not know­ing when I’ll get out of here. Just wait­ing in a city I hardly know, with no way to get around. I can’t be proac­tive; all I can do is be patient.

To keep abreast of the ever-changing sit­u­a­tion, I’ve been watch­ing 24 hour news cov­er­age, hang­ing on the words of Mayor Bloomberg at his live press con­fer­ences for any sign that I may make it out of here.

I came to New York, expect­ing to return home recharged, refreshed, and ready to take on the world. The world decided I wasn’t ready yet.

  1. I left them six days of food, but they go through that in three days when I’m away. A major cri­sis was averted when Aaron found a spare key to my house, and was able to take care of them. The only other per­son with a spare key was Pat, and he just hap­pened to be leav­ing for Cancun on the morn­ing I found out my trip was can­celled. []