Athena got pretty wicked out there last night, although I’ve been through worse nor’easters. But it snowed for hours, and the wind blew the snow across the street in horizontal lines. None of this would be a particularly big deal if we weren’t still recovering from Sandy. This was devastating for people who already are homeless, have no heat, no power – or had just gotten their power back, only to find themselves in the dark again, like many people on Long Island. My electricity flickered a couple of times yesterday, and yet it held on. There was quite a bit of snow, which I normally love, but in this case I just felt worried about everybody. I shoveled my car out, and actually was able to go fill up the tank for the first time in over 8 days where it didn’t take hours of waiting in line. The gas rationing is no longer in effect here (although Bloomberg has put it in place in New York finally), and there are no more cops stationed at the gas stations, no more barricades and yellow police tape. This, however, may differ from town to town. A friend of mine who also lives in Jersey says there were National Guardsmen around the gas stations in his area. Amazing how much I take it for granted, filling up the tank, and how the psychology of life completely changed when I realized that the 1/4 tank I had would be IT for the foreseeable future. So going to the gas station was a small victory and I had a happy conversation with my gas station guy about how things were getting back to normal and how, all things considered, we had all made it through. There were no riots at the gas station, etc. People were tense and stressed out, but in general, everyone adjusted to the odd-even rationing, and within a day or two it was as though rationing had always been in place. I still can’t go back to work, which is quite worrisome. I have now lost almost two weeks. But the building is closed, and it still has no heat, and there are all kinds of Zone A problems. Hopefully tomorrow. I need the money. I have been housebound and stir-crazy and for the majority of that time I was not online and barely had phone service. I have always been good at occupying myself. If I have an unexpected wait-time for something, or find myself in a long line, or in the bus in traffic, I listen to my iPod and read a book, and the time is never wasted. More importantly, I don’t go stir-crazy. I hardly ever go stir-crazy. There is always a book to be read. This past week has pushed that endurance of mine to the limit! I’m done with reading! I’m done with watching movies! I have been working on a couple of different pieces about some of the movies I’ve seen over the last two weeks, and also working on a piece (in my head) about Rebecca West, whose letters are just marvelous. I am halfway done with the volume. I mean, what the hell else am I gonna do? I’m also looking into writing grants, and finding an opportunity to get the hell out of dodge for a while, and be paid to do it. I’ve had enough. I need space and nature and quiet, where I can work.
My heart goes out to the Rockaways, to the Jersey Shore, to Staten Island. There are all kinds of charities you can donate to, and there are lists of specific things people need. There are elderly people in highrises in the Rockaways who have not had phone, heat, electricity (no elevators then) since Sandy. Volunteers are going door to door to check on people and find out what they need. It’s bad. I just read Louis Ck is doing a benefit comedy show for Staten Island. That’s wonderful.
The snow has already melted where I am. It’s still cold. But Athena came and went. No trace left.