Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Shelter From The Storm

The wind raged, the rain lashed at the windows and the lights flickered. Hurricane Sandy had swept ashore, and she was mad.

I had been pretty cavalier about this storm. I ignored the severity of my closed office and the shuttered subway. I went for a run even as the NYPD urged people to stay inside, and wrote a chatty blog post about it. I wasn't worried about this category 1 storm. My family lived in Florida for 12 years after all. Show me a category five, I thought, and then I'll be impressed.

But that was day, and now it was night, and half of Manhattan was in darkness.

My lights were still on, but since we were about to move we had already switched the cable and internet to our new house, so I couldn't watch any news, or even the Gilmore Girls marathon I had saved on my DVR. Our temporary internet wasn't fast enough for streaming, so I had little entertainment to distract me from the Armageddon befalling my city.

So there I sat, filling pots with water and checking to make sure all my devices were plugged in so they would be fully charged in case we, too, ended up in the dark.

I hadn't spent much time on Twitter before the night that Sandy arrived, but without TV, it became my lifeline. Every time I refreshed the screen more tweets would pop up with pictures of the devastation in lower Manhattan. I watched as the streets and river became one. I saw the water pour into the 9/11 memorial site. I was sitting there when NYU Hospital's generator failed and nurses carried tiny babies down stairs and out into the storm.

And as each story broke, I shook a little harder. My heart pounded a little faster. The walls of my tiny Manhattan apartment closed in a little more.

I knew I should get off Twitter before I really lost it, but it was like driving past a bad car accident. You know you shouldn't look, but you can't help yourself.

In an effort to calm down, I joined a Twitter conversation with Yeah Writers, and fellow tri-state area residents StacieMichelle and Kristin. We had never met in person, but that didn't matter. We had read each other's blogs, commented on each other's stories, and learned about each other's lives. And as the storm raged, we talked about what we were eating and drinking, who still had power, and what we were writing about. We talked about how our houses and families were fairing, and wondered how long the whole thing would last. We were each other's windows to a world that had suddenly become very, very dark, and with them, I didn't feel so alone anymore.

Sometimes there are people who come into your life at exactly the right time, and touch it in unexpected and important ways.

These three ladies are those people, and their friendship during that long, scary night gave me shelter from the storm.

Day 22 of Yeah Write's 31dbbb series asked us to pay special attention to a reader.
These three readers are not only incredible writers, but very, very special people as well.
I am lucky to know them in this online world, and to call them my friends.

23 comments:

  1. Aw, thanks Sam! You definitely succeeded in paying us special attention! I'll never forget that night either. I think we all needed to tweet for our sanity. Since then, I have seen Kristin and Michelle in person more than once (not always together) and it's really true that it's not like meeting someone for the first time if you are blog friends already. It felt like we already knew each other! Next time we'll plan a Sunday so hopefully you can join! Also, maybe I can meet you in the city for lunch once the puppy can go to daycare for a few hours.

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    1. I love the idea of a city lunch! Just tell me when and where, and I'm totally there.

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    2. Actually, you'll have to tell me where. My goal of "learning the city" has not been accomplished as easily as I'd hoped from NJ. Once we find a date, you'll have to tell me what to do from Penn Sta! Can't wait! Sept...

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  2. And we'll certainly know what to do if we have another hurricane this year! It seems like it could be turning into an annual thing (though I hope not).

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  3. Awwwww. I love this sweet post. The power of connection.

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  4. Tweeting with you guys that night was so helpful because I wasn't just sitting in my house hoping it didn't blow away. I was so grateful to you all and so worried about you and your families and so glad when you were all OK the next day. I'll never forget that night either.

    We need to plan that date soon. Things calm down a bit for me (I think) in August. Just need to check my husband's travel schedule for Sundays but I'm sure we can make one work soon. Thanks for the sweet post, Sam.

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    1. Yes please! I think a Sunday date is definitely in order. I drive to NJ all the time, and you guys aren't so far from me.

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  5. sometimes all we need is a tie to home, to connect us back.:)

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  6. It really is amazing who we find when we need someone. It isn't always who we'd expect. Great post!

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  7. I love how you write. I really do.

    I also felt really connected to this entry because I was (am still) living in the city during Sandy as well. Fortunately I was living up in Washington Heights at the time, so almost no damage occurred up there. Even when the storm got bad, I still had to take my dog out for a walk and I even stopped in to get Chinese food (as they were the only place open). However, because I go to NYU, school was canceled for the entire week and most of my friends were living down in the village. I was able to open my apartment to some of them to stay with me and we really got ourselves through the storm.

    I'm so glad you were able to have those fellow bloggers help you through the storm. They sound like great people and we're so lucky we are involved in such a great community!

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    1. My sister was living in the Heights during Sandy, and she said the exact same thing. We were also really lucky on the Upper West Side, and I had a bunch of friends and family from Hoboken and the East Village coming through my apartment to shower and charge their devices for days after the storm.

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  8. A perfect example of how social media can be used for good :D So glad you all had each other to help you through the storm!

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  9. I like how you crafted a narrative out of the Day 22 task. Well done.

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  10. Great writing, and I bet you were nervous during the storm. Good for you reaching out to your fellow Yeah Write writers.

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  11. A great story about the comfort we can find in friends! And encouraging to someone just joining the Yeah Write community!

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    1. Welcome to Yeah Write! This is the best community around.

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  12. This is beautifully written - I loved the line, "I watched as the streets and river became one." We didn't lose power for very long, and my eyeballs were practically glued to the TV. I couldn't stop watching the water rise and claim the land. I didn't think it was going to be such a big deal either, and I quickly realized how wrong I was.

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    1. Where do you live? Even though I was on the Upper West side and we never lost power, I will never forget that night as long as I live. Between all my family and friends in Hoboken and the West Village and worrying about our impending move (that was supposed to happen the day of the storm), it was one of the scariest nights, and few days, of my life.

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  13. I remember watching my phone charge go from 11% to 6% to 2% and being horrified that I wouldn't be able to find out what was going on away from my block!

    Thanks for writing this! I'm so glad we were all there for each other. :)

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  14. Aww, this is such a sweet post -- I'm so glad that you all had each other's backs and kept each other sane. Hugs and kisses for all of you!!

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  15. I'm so glad you had others to connect with. What a horrible storm.
    I think it's natural to minimize. It's a survival technique- we can't live in high alert all the time.
    Nicely written. I was on alert through the whole post! Yeah Write is good people.

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