When Hurricane Sandy racked havoc on the North East last week and everything went dark, I learned a few things…
I learned that the first few hours of darkness are actually the brightest ones. As the house is still warm, and the twinkle of candlelight and fire is romantic. You can sit and play board games and joke about the “adventure” of it all, but as you listen to the wind howling outside I little worm of worry starts to uncoil in your chest. Your mind starts to conjure up bad and worse case scenarios and you start taking a mental note of your supplies. “Maybe it will not be as bad as they predict” should be right up there with “Oops!” as famous last words.
I learned that even after a day or so of darkness, as it gets colder, as long as you have a fun crowd to “survive” with… it is not so bad. You can communally cook the contents of each other’s fridges in a bazar pot-luck style of ingredients waiting to go bad without the icebox.
I learned that the site of cars lined up for miles to get gas, people, swaddled in their warmest, standing in endless lines with canisters, waiting…., police escorting every gasoline track… give me the creeps. And not the kind of creeps you would get at the horror flick, the other kind, the cold on the inside, imagine the end of the world kind. The kind that makes me want to hug my kids and move some place where nothing bad can ever happened… I wonder if Idaho is taking immigrants.
I learned that throwing out everything in your fridge is much harder than it sounds. A week before the storm I made a freezer full of stocks, beautiful, perfect stocks, made the right way, for hours… all gone. All my stashes of exotic meats in preparation for Thanksgiving… gone. All the little things I always have on hand in my fridge, condiments, jams, sauces, things I know I almost never have to buy… gone. It made me sad, I hate to waste good food, especially if I worked so hard to hoard it.
I learned that, as the dark and cold lingers, your house, your home feels like an enemy. The place of comfort and security turns on you and you feel bitter and resentful within it’s walls.
I learned that friends will offer to take you in, even with your dog, offering him various degrees of confined accommodations. One more day of the cold and the dog would have stopped holding out for a better offer.
I learned that once the lights do go on, shopping from scratch, to fill a completely virgin fridge is quite challenging, considering the supermarkets closely resemble “a-day-after-the-end-of the-world” scene.
But most importantly, I learned that there is no better feeling in the world, than driving up to your home on a stormy night (the heck, any night) and seeing the light in the window. To open the door and feel the warmth and a smell of cooking. To be home…
My heart goes out to all who have lost their homes in this disaster. I wish them a speedy and smooth recovery, which they so deserve….