Hurricane Irene, Part 2

With dreary skies outside, M and I sit anticipating Hurricane Irene, prepared with water and food, candles and flashlights, just as everyone advised. We’re watching the news as long as we have power, trying to prep ahead for work on Monday and figure out how we’re going to get there if the transit doesn’t open until noon. We’re comfy in sweats and trying to decide what in the world we’re going to do if nothing works and we’re without the means to shower. While it’s scary and no one really knows what to expect, it’s also a little exhilarating.

I mean, two natural disasters that don’t normally happen in the Northeast in one week?

God forbid anything happens and lives are lost in the city, I think it’s an interesting lesson for New Yorkers to experience. The island gives you a sense of invisibility. If you make it here, if you can survive the task of living in the city in general, then you’re tough. You’re strong and bold, and because you’re on the good side of Manhattan, the buildings will protect you. The streets will, as Ms. Keys says, make you feel brand new and you’ll walk them tall and proud, inspired by the existence you’re lucky to have. Unlike Los Angeles, it is quite rare to have an earthquake and unlike Miami, it is even less common for us to be in a state of emergency because of a hurricane. But both of those things have happened, and New Yorkers aren’t quite sure what to do with themselves.

The two grocery stores near me have lines lining the block, everyone holding their umbrellas and talking to everyone they can, while they can. The office was busy with chatter about what we should do, if we should be more afraid than what we are, if this is the real deal or if it’s going to blow over. My friends and I were texting all night and this morning about where we should stay, what’s safe and how we should prep. My roommate’s boyfriend has filled our living room with buckets of water so we can flush the toilet if we need to. My other roommate bought a case of water and M brought beer with her – all necessary requirements for being stuck inside.

Me though? I made sure to call my mother so she wouldn’t worry, kiss Mr. P like I meant it just in the rare case, I wouldn’t get to again, and checked up on everyone in NC and in NYC. And then, of course, I took a really nice, long shower so I would at the very least, feel very clean.

But you know what I really feel?

I feel like I shouldn’t take New York for granted as much as I do. I should value the city in the same way I would if I didn’t live here, like all of those 20-plus years I spent idolizing Manhattan because I wanted to be here so badly. I should count my blessings and be thankful for what I have, and never, for a moment, believe nothing could take it away from me. Because maybe a really powerful earthquake could rattle the pavement – most of New York is built on a fault line anyway. Or maybe this hurricane will be worse than what we think and there will be clean-up and relief efforts I’ll be able to volunteer with.

The city isn’t invisible and neither are its inhabitants. We’re the same people with the same warnings and same worries of those anywhere else in the country, and this week, the weather is reminding of us of that.

What the World Needs

I wrote a blog for today.

It was about learning to control your imagination and not allowing it to get the best of you, the relationship you’re in or considering making official. I made analogies and edits, I crossed the t’s and dotted the I’s. I inserted links. It was what I consider a clever concoction of words and ideas and I’m sure readers and haters alike would have related.

But then WordPress goofed on me.

For whatever reason, the scheduled blog missed its automatic deadline and didn’t publish. I currently am without a phone with a higher IQ than the basic feature one, so I didn’t realize the mishap until midafternoon – maybe 20 minutes before this post goes live. I spent the morning away from the computer, sleeping in, eating breakfast in bed, and attempting to motivate myself to clean while nursing a one-too-many-Merlot haze.

However, the hours I spent enjoying the company of Mr. Possibility and his bacon-cooking skills, were interrupted by the news. I notoriously don’t watch shows or commentaries – I’m more of a reader. I digest The Times daily, subscribe to New York magazine, and my job requires me to follow business trends – which, surprisingly, have become far more interesting than I ever predicted they would. I’m fascinated by international affairs and the changing state of the world and its politics. I tend to believe we can’t all fight every single war, every injustice, or every problem – but picking one and sticking to it, would do the planet and its people a lot of good.

So today, don’t read this blog.

Put relationship troubles and worries of never finding the right guy on the back burner. Stop focusing on how to love yourself and what are the proper relationship-oriented decisions you should make to remain happy and confident. These things are important (I wouldn’t need a 12 step program, if they weren’t) – but today, take the time to catch up on the needs of the universe. Not the needs of yourself.

Love may not give back the lives of those killed in Egypt or give peace to the women raped in Libya or bring back the hundreds who lost their life in Japan’s current state of disaster. It may not save anyone from radiation, should it become a real threat. It may not stop sex trafficking from being the third most profitable illegal trade – only behind the smuggling of guns and drugs. It may not help an 11-year-old who was taken by 18 men in Texas or change the articles published placing the blame on her and posing a question of concern for the rapists’ futures. It may not turn the agendas of the media – who may be more concerned with hits and clicks – from giving way more attention to a washed-up, B-list celebrity who has abused women for decades, without anything more than a smack on the hand, followed by placing another million in his pocket.

It’s true, love doesn’t solve everything.

It doesn’t answer the questions left unruly and bitter in the hearts of those who have suffered great loss or pain. But maybe The Beatles are right – what the world needs now is, in fact, love. A love for humanity. A neighborly kind of love that looks out for the family of four next door. A love that doesn’t want something in return, but wants to give. An educated love that knows of the world outside of their zip code. A love that sees people as people, not as objects, statistics or figures, but human beings, who have the ability to love and to hate.

Go give the world what it needs: more people who care. More people who want to help someone else. More people who, regardless of what’s going on in their lives, their relationships, their homes, or their hearts – know there is always someone out there who needs love more than they do.