Reflections and Ramblings in the post Sandy City

What a long, strange week it’s been. Unless you live on Mars (in which case, OH MY GOD, HI! I have so many questions for you!), you’ve surely been following the tale of The Frankenstorm or, as I like to call her, Pecan Sandy.  It was just 7 days ago today my East Coast friends and I found ourselves lining up for canned goods, battening down the hatches, stockpiling wine. In those 7 days, thousands of people lost their homes, belongings, electricity and much more and others of just lost our minds out of sheer boredom. It is mind boggling, really, the amount of destruction this storm caused on some areas of the region, while leaving others practically untouched.

Coastal areas of Brooklyn, like Red Hook and Coney Island, each just a few miles from me, were practically flooded off the map. Same for Lower Manhattan, Staten Island, The Rockaways and the Jersey Shore. The worst damage I saw in my neighborhood was my favorite middle-of-the-parkway  porta potty had been knocked over by the wind.

Thankfully it has since been restored to its original glory.

We Shall Overcome.

SandyPants left me unable to get into my office, with little to do but wander around Brooklyn, drink too much, stress out about missing work and refresh my twitter feed. It was boring! I have a confession to make, and I know I’m going to risk sounding like a total loony bin, but I feel like this is a safe space, so here goes: I’m a little, teensy bit jealous of friends who had more traumatic storm experiences. I mean, I wouldn’t have wanted to lose my house or anything but would it have been too terrible to let me have no power for a few hours or something cool? I need a good story to tell! What am I going to do? 70 years from now I’ll huddle my grandchildren around my chaise lounge on the deck of my Costa  Rico beach mansion and tell them all about the time their Grandmother lived through a giant hurricane and...nothing happened? Oh look, the grandkids have already teleported away, before they passed out from boredom.

This is a serious problem I have. I am frequently jealous of other people’s misfortunes. Not like, huge misfortunes, I’m not completely insane, but really anything that might result in a good story. Public humiliation, minor mishaps, unplanned adventures. A friend of mine recently reminded me of the time that, during college, she ended up locked in the bathroom of our campus apartment for over two hours. None of the rest of us were home and this was before the days of checking instagram on your smartphone while on the john, so she had no way of communicating with the outside world. She banged the door & walls so hard she knocked dishes from the cabinets in our kitchen, which shared a wall with the bathroom. Eventually one of us came home and called the campus popo, who kicked the door down and came to her rescue. That story is amazing. I covet that story. When I came home to find her locked in the bathroom, instead of concern for her well being, my very first instinct was to wish it was me in there, so I could get all the attention...and then concern, I swear!

And that’s just one lil example. I do this all the time. I think I might have some deep, deep psychological issues surrounding my need for the spotlight. Or maybe this is normal? I can’t be the only one who thinks like this, can I?  And what would we call this anyway? I don’t think there’s a word for this bizarre disorder in current psychological journals. Sure there’s the German word Schadenfreude, which means pleasure derived from the misfortune of others, sympathy and empathy which basically mean caring and understanding the misfortune of others but there’s no word for feeling jealous about the misfortune of others.

I think I’ll start a petition to name it Lizhosinschnoozle. That has a nice ring.

Now, for a serious moment. I write jokingly, self-centeredly about this debilitating Lizhosinschnoozle of mine because, well, that’s what I do here, write goofy stories all about myself. And because I’m a lucky gal. I get to sit here and riff about wishing I’d lost power, being jealous of my friends who roamed the city, nomad-like, for five nights, with no heat, electricity or hot water because I was blessed enough to make it through this particular misfortune unscathed. I do not know if I will be so lucky the next time and I do not take this for granted. I hope that anyone reading this who has suffered greater than I this week is getting back on their feet and will soon be in a warm, safe place, if they are not already.

And I encourage all those as lucky as I to count our blessings and turn them into good deeds. I’m sure many of you have already found ways to give back and get involved, but if you want to help and aren’t sure how, I’m linking to a number of online resources below who are rallying volunteers all across the tri-state area - and taking donations from far and wide.The storm may be over, but a lot of these communities are going to need our help for a long time. I spent the day today working with the Occupy Sandy team in Sunset Park, Brooklyn making millions of sandwiches to deliver to those in hardest hit communities. It wasn’t much and I’m legit not tooting my own horn, just sayin'. I haven’t felt as good all week as I did walking out of the volunteer center this afternoon, I’d highly encourage you try for that same good feeling. We can all get involved, even a little bit.

And maybe don’t stop the good deeds as soon as the East Coast is rebuilt.I realized this week how long it has been since I’ve actively volunteered. I used to spend hours a week working within my communities in high school and college, but since moving to New York over five years ago have barely lifted a finger for anyone other than myself. It took a disaster to get me up and moving again and I don’t like that feeling. I’m issuing a challenge to myself, and I hope you’ll join me as well. Let’s get back to giving back. Find something you care about - animals, old people, local government, environment, women’s rights, education, marijuana, I don’t know what you’re into! -- and get involved. I’m not sure yet where I’ll be lending my time and talents - are any organizations in need of someone to write corny puns? - but by one month from today will have a tangible update: who, what, when, where & how I’ll be giving back. I’d love for you to join me!

And, whoa. That shit just got real. I promise I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled ramblings in no time but until then, go do some good, why don’t you?

xoxo Liz

Sandy Recovers Resources:

Staten Island Recovers

Red Hook Initiative

Occupy Sandy

Volunteer Opp Map - NYC

United Way of NJ

Red Cross

New York Cares

And that’s just a few! If you know of any other great opportunities, let me know!

 

Some pics from yesterday's sandwich-a-thon. Yes, we already thought to call them Sandy-wiches.