*This is my 750 words in the morning, the rambling, POS stuff that makes the rest of the day wordsmith-friendly.*
I opened my fridge to make a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich and discovered my eggs had been frozen by Hurricane Sandy. Not directly, mind, but as a result of my pre-storm precaution of turning my fridge to the coldest setting. I never knew eggs could do that- they cooked up just fine, but the shape lends my culinary mind some real possibilities. For one thing, the shell comes off easy as pie. If storms are good for anything, they’re great at showing people something new- that eggs could take on new, whacky forms, or that New Yorkers are just oblivious to danger.
I’m from Hong Kong. We have tropical storms every year that rip up entire trees by the roots, cleave landslides off the mountains that go burying highways in mud. It’s safe to say I’ve been through this kind of thing before. Hurricane Sandy didn’t look very impressive through my apartment windows- we’re boxed in by three other buildings, so mainly it was the darkness, and the swaying tree, that showed anything was happening. Still, I was getting the news feed through my internet, and we were prepared with enough food and water to get us through. We didn’t dare step outside. No disrespect for anyone lost in New York, but if you were out there, and you weren’t helping someone else, or documenting it for posterity, you had no business being there.
Who walks their dog in 95mph winds? We like to say New Yorkers are a tough bunch, but we’re not immortal. Before the forces of nature, nobody’s mythos stands up. Just look at the Mitt Romney campaign- one demonstration of Sandy’s might, and his anti-governement stance looks ridiculously irresponsible. Who votes a man into government who doesn’t believe in government anyway? But I digress.
One reporter commented on Bloomberg’s attitude towards the dangling crane in Midtown, almost casually mentioning that even though he had taken every safety measure, and had a plan for dismantling the thing, and cordoned off the blocks around it, he had “given no timetable” as to when it would be finished. Right, because everyone needs to get back to making money, and not even the fear of death by downed tree or power line can stop you. Guess what? There’s no time for profit when the roads aren’t fully clear yet.
I guess what I take from this is, Sandy had some very unintentional victims. Beside the homes, businesses, and lives it touched, I feel like the raging wind and water have washed away some preconceptions about the universe. Like Noah’s flood, it swept through the city and showed everyone the things they had been doing and the attitudes that landed them in trouble. An unintentional consequence of the storm is a washing away of awareness- an awareness that we were untouchable, we could do whatever we wanted, that nothing could stop human hubris. Like the frozen egg in my refrigerator, now we have a completely new awareness, a new ingredient that was there all the time, but needed a unique situation to bring to the surface. Now what do we do with it?