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Meryl Hartstein Headshot

Awaiting Sandy

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It's only Saturday, two full days before the storm is supposed to hit the north east. In all actuality, it's hit already. The crazy panic has reared its ugly head. I can see the look on the faces of the people online at the supermarket, sheer terror.

The chatter amongst them consists of listing what items are out of stock, how there are no more generators to be found and the total number of water gallons they bought. As I listen, I think to myself, why do we all wait for a disaster to stock up on batteries, water jugs and generators?

Shouldn't we all have these things already in preparation for the yearly threat of a hurricane or a blizzard? I wonder, maybe we all thrive on this kind of chaos and excitement. It's interesting how it brings a sense of camaraderie and commonality to us. Our neighborhoods feel tighter and more like an old fashioned community like something you would see in an old 40s movie. It does kind of give me a warm fuzzy feeling when I think about it. If it were 30 degrees colder, I might put on It's a Wonderful Life and light a fire. But in all actuality, my day is consisting on planning to make sure my Nook is all charged up and loaded with books and magazines. My car has a full tank and there is cash in the house. My cell phones will be charged and in an emergency, there is an old fashioned transistor radio that will give us the latest weather updates. As a child, we never cared if the power went out. It was almost something we wanted to have happen. We felt excitement and uncertainty.

We could fantasize that we lived in a log cabin and that we always had candles and burned the fire place nightly. We would make smores and roast marshmallows right in the living room. The sound of the wind and rain was scary and exhilarating at the same time. I felt such a peaceful feeling of contentment as I drifted off to sleep. On awakening, it was like I had landed in Oz. The sun would be shining, birds would be singing and a strong feeling of newness would be in the air. The sky would be crystal clear and blue as the sea. We always had to wait a few extra hours before heading out to see what disaster was waiting outside from the wrath of the storm. You never knew if you were in the eye or if wires were down or branches were still hanging by a thread. The anxiety of waiting to go back to normal life was starting to kick in. The lack of outside stimulation was taking effect.

Gone was the peaceful understanding that you either embrace the storm and ride it out, or go stir crazy waiting for it to pass. As I count down the days ahead with the full understanding that life will slow down, I'm trying to connect to those fond memories of an old fashioned storm and try to put a smile on my face.