Thought Wheel

Ann Chiappetta

After Sandy

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After Sandy


We knew it was coming; a huge cyclonic mass packed with ripping winds and a gazillion gallons of rain. The Doppler prognosticators warned us about the tidal surges, the full moon, and that even they could not accurately predict what the outcome would be except for one dude, a geologist named Koch,. He knew what was going to happen and he was right. He said that Manhattan would be flooded and I wish he had been wrong.


When our Governor said that he watched the tidal surge pour into the ground zero site, I wanted to cry and it hit me, the enormity of it really struck home. This was serious and our entire region was going to limp for a long time. It took five years for people to recover from Katrina. Folks are still being affected by Irene’s aftermath. Now this.  How much can people take?


Hurricane Sandy came in Monday night. The winds shrieked so vehemently that it sounded like freight trains going by our windows.  Entire villages and towns, and some cities along the lower Hudson valley were crippled by the winds and tidal surges. Atlantic City lost its boardwalk; Breezy Point lost houses from fires and lives resulting from those fires. A fire commander said they couldn’t fight the fires because the winds made the fire as dangerous as flame throwers. How helpless those firemen must have felt, to not be able to help.


The tidal surge swept away people, beaches, houses, and placed boats on train tracks and in parking lots. Long Island will not have power or telecommunications in some areas for a month. The trees snapped like twigs and pulled down so many power lines, it’s a wonder there weren’t more fires.

So far, 50 people have lost their lives. We are still without power and have no heat. The quiet and darkness is unnerving, too. We listen to our weather radio, hoping to hear when the utility trucks will roll into our neighborhood and get us going again. We wonder how those south of 34th street are doing, who, like us, have no power, heat, phones, or internet. We are running utility lines to our neighbor upstairs so she can have a light and a way to charge up her computer and cell phone. Another neighbor makes his coffee in the hall, and yet another neighbor is running a line into the hall to keep his fridge running.  We gather in our building’s halls and talk, complain, then thank the stars that we are unharmed and wish for a hot shower. It could be worse, someone says. Then we all go back into our, dark, quiet apartments and wait.


The police are directing traffic where the traffic lights are still down and patrolling to discourage looters. Now there is a gas shortage and the police have to monitor the pump lines, too.

It is four days since the hurricane and it feels like weeks have passed. It feels like this because we are mentally exhausted. But we are human beings, highly adaptable organisms, who, when faced with adversity, will survive. We will get our power back. Those who lost loved ones will grieve, mourn, and eventually keep on living. We will get over this and rebuild. We have to, don’t we? Getting through this experience is the only way to do it. Touch base with family, friends, and neighbors, even the ones you don’t like. Perform a random act of kindness; it will help you feel better, too. Send healing thoughts to others who didn’t make it through the hurricane as well as you did and most of all stay positive and hopeful even when the water is still running cold.


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