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We are fine

October 30, 2012

The cloak-and-dagger stuff about where I live is truly unnecessary; actually, a reader popped up months ago and identified herself as a neighbor after she read one of my descriptions of the town we both live in. (I’ve still never met her, and she very politely said she would, if we ran into each other, smile mysteriously and go about her business.) Still, an anonymous blog is an anonymous blog, and writing both as yourself and not as yourself (paradoxical though it may seem) keeps you honest, I’ve found.

But this entry needs some geographical context. After the storm I foolishly pooh-poohed turned out to be a very, very serious matter indeed, I want to say that I am about 100 miles south of New York, in a small town near Philadelphia, and that we, in this town, were incredibly lucky. Actually, my take on the storm turned out to be true for us. There was some wind, there was some rain, some trees fell down, but they didn’t fall on us. The power went out, and then it came back on. The movers rescheduled for tomorrow, and I was grateful for the respite (though now, of course, I wish I’d seized the day). The kids are here amid boxes and bags, spending their last night in this house. When I put them to bed about an hour ago (both in one bed; it’s the only one made up besides mine) they wanted to reminisce about every room in the house, and so we did. The little one has only lived here; the big one barely remembers any other house. But they’re not being uprooted, really; we’re just across town, their dad is right here, and so on. Their bedtime reminiscence feels touching, rather than tragic. And I’ve reminded them that we can always remember the house, no matter where we are. That’s what you do with houses you leave–you keep talking about the things you remember.

So we are fine, all of us, here.

I am aghast at the pictures of what the hurricane did in New York, in Connecticut and New Jersey, in Virginia and Delaware and all along the coast. Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston, my home town, when I was a senior in college; I missed the whole thing, and came home at Christmas astonished at the mess that still remained, three months later. I kept getting lost, because buildings and trees and entire neighborhoods were thinned and ravaged, or simply gone. I remember thinking, “I wish I had been here, because I cannot believe a force of nature did all this in one night.” If I’d been there, I figured, I would be better able to fathom the destruction. I feel that way now, looking at photographs of subway stations filled with water, of towns washed out to sea; from here, the storm was an inconvenience, nothing more.

My boyfriend has taken his elderly parents from their dark, cold house to his apartment, where there is electricity and heat. (Their town will have neither for a while, most likely.) His kids won’t be able to go to school till the subways reopen, though mine head back tomorrow. And tomorrow the movers come, and tomorrow consoling-windows friend and I load our cars with whatever the movers don’t take (I was too cheap to hire them to take everything) and ferry it all across town to the new house. I stopped by today with a carload of boxes and bags. It looks great. Small, but warm, and cozy. I can’t wait to be settled in.

But now I’m going to stare at the photos from the storm that people keep posting online–the water rushing into the Hoboken PATH station through the elevator shafts, the tunnels filled with seawater, the cars floating in the East Village, the subway stairs leading down to a murky, watery abyss. You know you’re a boring old grown up when a massive storm fails to thrill, when a near-miss feels not like a disappointment but like a blessing. 

I’ve still got a shitload of annoying packing and cleaning to do, but never mind. We’re not underwater or smashed by a tree, and that, my friends, makes us lucky indeed.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 30, 2012 11:37 pm

    Nice to hear good news about someone who weathered the storm. Thanks for the update.

  2. SarahB permalink
    October 31, 2012 9:06 am

    There really is nothing quite like the feeling of sleeping in your living room while hoping a tree doesn’t smash your bedroom. Other than losing power for awhile (long enough to toss food), we have come out all right. Annoying, but not devastating.

  3. October 31, 2012 9:17 am

    I am so glad you are all fine. And rather chastened by my glib comments on your last posting. As well as being VERY glad I am not in NYC, or anywhere on the north east coast. Goodness me, that was a whopper. (Can you imagine how I would have fared? I’d be the annoying neighbour with no bottled water or tinned food or working flashlights. And a screaming newborn.,..) Anyway – to the citizens of your wonderful country, I apologise, and wish you all a speedy recovery. xx

  4. Was Living Down Under permalink
    October 31, 2012 9:18 am

    Lucky indeed. Glad to hear it.

  5. penny permalink
    October 31, 2012 11:22 am

    So glad you are all okay. Good luck with the move.

  6. Kate permalink
    November 1, 2012 8:52 am

    I’ve been quietly reading for a while – for some reason I assumed you were in New England somewhere. I am also outside Philadelphia in Montgomery County. Perhaps we’re neighbors as well!

  7. November 5, 2012 1:14 pm

    & here I’ve been, slavering over reports of all that dad-gum PRECIPITATION (as we remain deep in drought)… But my former SIL called me this AM (she’s in NJ): they have no power, but she bought a small generator to run her fridge & microwave. (Of course she had animal q’s for me, which is absolutely fine – she’s a former in-law I don’t mind hearing from!)
    No significant property damage at her house, while neighbor’s house 2 doors down was completely wiped out by fallen trees.
    But glad to hear all is well in your town!

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