NOTE: don’t judge me on my formatting. WordPress needs to get its act together. Paragraphs yet another aspect of life presently out of my control.
As strong winds and rain pummel the windows and television reports do their best to incite panic, I’m feeling thankful to have booked accommodation where I did. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where I will be headed in mid-November, is in a flood zone presently being evacuated. Further north in midtown, on the corner of 57th and 7th, a crane on a high rise construction site is threatening to collapse under winds predicted to reach 90mph at that elevation. The news is getting some good mileage out of Frankenstorm, but as a visitor unfamiliar with the environment in this part of the world, it’s difficult to grasp just how serious the situation is.
The storm is set to intensify through the night, with the worst predicted for midnight to the early morning hours followed by a high tide that is likely to flood low lying areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Road and bridge closures are being enforced, while residents are preparing for power outages as result of downed power lines and trees.
I’m trying to look on the bright side. Having packed my belongings and cleaned the apartment as part of a futile attempt to get to London last night, all that remained was finding a store still open for business so I could gather supplies and bunker down for the next day or two.
With the closure of Wholefoods sending my nutritious intentions into a spin, I stumbled upon a grocer in the Bowery that was unsurprisingly out of fruit and veg, but had the basics to get a starving Australian through a natural disaster: a few stale bagels, eggs, smoked salmon, milk, pasta, muesli, dried apricots and ice-cream. Oddly – or was it fate? – a cute boutique Italian wine shop along my path home was still open. After the day I’d had running about like a headless chook, I was practically gagging for a glass of “dry, harmonic, full-bodied with an almond finish”.
Bottle of red in hand as I walked the last few blocks home, submitting to my powerlessness over the impending doom took on an exciting new turn. I had a basic pantry with which to conjure some creatively tasty dishes, a bottle of good wine to either accompany or drown them, depending on level of success, books, magazines, HBO on demand. Hell, I could even relax in a bath if I wanted, without feeling like I’m wasting time. It was all starting to become rather bliss.
There can be an undeniable beauty to making the most of a bad situation. Something normally shamefully indulgent like polishing off a pint of Ben&Jerry’s New York super fudge chunk ice-cream (THE most decadent concentration of sugar high inducing badness you can think of) instantly becomes a no-brainer. What else is there to do when you’re stuck in bed catching up on films and 30 Rock episodes?
The eerie calm that has enveloped the streets afforded me my first night’s peaceful sleep since arriving in the East Village, without being woken by traffic noise or revellers in the early morning hours.
Perhaps above all, relinquishing control in a situation like this brings the gift of perspective that should be applied to other aspects of life, well after the storm has passed.
Sandy, I owe you an apology. While I pray that people in your path stay safe and the impacts of your wrath are kept to a minimum, I just want to say thanks for the ‘me’ time. Oh, and if you could blow over by Tuesday, that would be swell. I do have to be in London by Sunday.
Making the most of a bad situation