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.
- 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. [↩]