This has been a truly dreadful week. The losses are unimaginable, the deaths shocking and the landscape changed forever. This may seem a bit dramatic, but not if you are living on the Jersey Shore, Lower Manhattan, the shores of Rockaway or in CT where 3 neighboring houses burned down to the ground count yourselves lucky. Breezy Point looks like a war zone, London after the bombings of WWII, over 100 homes reduced to rubble. Never did I imagine the damage would be so terrible.
Living in NYC the past several years, it seems that the blackouts, earthquakes and hurricanes we have been experiencing is something out of an apocalyptic religious novel. The wreckage of Seaside Heights and Point Pleasant boardwalks is so heartbreaking. The beach bars, the sticky floored dance clubs, the greasy good food and cotton candy was only 2 months ago. I can hardly believe that will be re-built by June when I plan on returning to Bay Head. Good or Bad, I’ll still spend my summers on the Jersey Shore.
I am housing a friend, her daughter and their 2 dogs who are refugees from Grand St. Refugees! That’s crazy! Out of the cab she clamors, 2 tiny dogs in tow, rolling suitcase, Ikea bag filled with dry goods and an ice chest on wheels filled with the contents of her refrigerator. My own refrigerator will welcome the food as the 3 condiments inside the door are lonely. I also have a friend who will be sleeping somewhere in my refugee camp. He is working with Health and Human Services, here to help.
But there was a positive light on the midst of the darkness. No I’m not talking about the end of the storm, I’m talking about the end of the election cycle. It’s almost here. It’s like Sandy was the blowing of the collective American fuse at all the commercials, rallies, photo ops, real or stages, all the voices, pundits, polls, that we have been subjected to endlessly for almost a year. The hysteria and attacks we have been seeing have not only affected our politicians, who should know better, but it also seems to have entered into our own personal discourses. People who you thought you knew are lobbing insults like “Libtard” and “Republicants.”
Our national dialogue has surrendered to the basest and most nasty form of politicking. Attack, defame, destroy. Win at all costs. This us against them (pick your 2 opposing groups) attitude is killing us as a country. We are more divided now than ever. Family members at odds, friendships lost and the most stringent voices at both ends getting louder.
I feel Sandy, with all her ferociousness is the voice of the American people saying SHUT UP! There are so many more important things in our lives than a few politicians. We forget that. But in times of tragedy, that vitriol gets washed away like the Seaside Heights Roller Coaster. Our lives are made up of little moments strung together to make memories and experiences. This is what we need to focus on. We are all in this shitty changing world together. We are that family you always wanted to learn adopted you. “I am nothing like them.” Well, yes you are.
It’s the moments when we turn to each other and reach out to help because it’s needed, and we need to capture and bottle them so when this passes and we start to revert back, we can spritz ourselves and remember when we were together and battled the storm and no one fought.
The picture of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and President Obama together, working and talking and concentrating on the immediate needs of a state was a surprising image. I love seeing that kind of picture. It brings me hope that these 2 leaders can not only put aside their differences, but can teach the fringe elements a lesson in partnership. But I know this is a Kumbaya moment, I still want it !
I hope all the CFR readers are safe and warm. If anyone needs extra housing, I do still have a corner available. But no more dogs!