“How are you?” ask caring friends and family. No one wants to hear that I’m really unhappy that I can’t blow-dry my hair. Or maybe they do because they’ll think I’m kidding, and therefore I must still have a sense of humor. Fact is, I’m not kidding. I never feel myself when I can’t blow-dry my hair. And when I say feel myself, I mean that in all senses of the phrase. You wouldn’t want to feel me either looking at this thin mass of static-infused thread called hair on my head. Also, I just feel out of sorts and depressed. Of course there are plenty of other reasons to feel out of sorts besides air-dried hair.
Since the storm hit on Monday, we’ve had no power or heat. We’ve had to get rid of food we could no longer keep in our unpowered refrigerator and freezer. I tried holding up a bag of peas against Gabriella’s heart, but it was still not cold enough to freeze. We packed up coolers and waited for the ice to melt – unable to refresh because stores had no ice to sell.
|Loaded up coolers hoping to put our food in foster care|
When friends asked how we’re doing, I assumed they wanted to hear that we were great – all things considered. They wanted to know that they didn’t have to worry about us, and we wanted to be able to tell them that we felt so fortunate to have our house, our car and each other when so many survivors have lost infinitely more.
|Scenes from just down our block|
In comparison to those hit hardest, we fared well, and this blip on the screen could easily be considered an adventure in family togetherness instead of mourning possessions or homes or people. When the lights first blew, I imagined rustic dinners together uninterrupted by technology and romantic nights with my lady friend. I thought that at the very least I’d get some Disaster Sex. The two of us snuggling in bed by candle light, finding comfort in each other’s arms in the face of the unknown– it’d have to happen right?
I don’t know if it was the cold or the exhaustion after a harrowing day or feeling completely unsexy after not being able to blow dry my flat, stringy hair or the constant inhalation of every morsel of food that was put in my path as if I’d never eat again or the aftertaste of pizza and vodka that I could not brush away with a mere 2 minute cleanse, but, at the risk of over sharing, there has been no Disaster Sex. We have been far too cold, tired and bloated, and after we stop shivering under ice-cold sheets, we squint into the small iPhone screen to learn whatever we can about relief efforts and pass out in minutes.
The pictures and footage and stories of loss are devastating. I’m grateful for all the things we do have, and I’m fully aware of the suffering around us. Yet, I must admit that cold and dark pioneer living makes me very cranky. Don’t even start with me about how pioneers didn’t have cell phones or indoor plumbing or cars. I think you get my meaning. Besides, pioneers played the fiddle after dinner, and we haven’t had any fiddle playing, so I think we should call it even and say that on balance, we have been living like pioneers.
The other side of our road has power. Every single house. I had to explain to the boys how it could be that some people had power and others did not. I told them that God hated us. No I didn’t. But I wondered if our neighbors across the street might tell their grandchildren something to that effect. Our anti-choice neighbors let everyone know they had power to spare when they turned that outdoor spotlight on to light up their anti-choice sign.
They have power for lawn signs while their neighbors have to boil pots of water to steam heat the house and keep the temperature indoors above 50 degrees – if they are lucky enough to have gas stove tops. How about throwing an extension cord our way and valuing a little life over here on this side of the road, Neighbors?!? I hate myself for begrudging others power, but come on! Can you keep that sign dark until we can all have enough light to perform abortions in our living rooms? Shees!!
Yesterday, the temperature dipped, and we gratefully moved into the home of good friends with power and heat and where we hope to hide out for the duration. We are grateful that we have somewhere to be. We are also grateful for crews working tirelessly to power us all up again. I am also happy to hear that a local hair salon has offered free shampoos and a space to blow dry hair. Clearly, I’m not the only one with hair issues. I may not take advantage of the offer, but I feel validated.
Good luck Sandy Survivors!!