I'm sitting in front of my fireplace, letting the flames warm me as I contemplate life at this moment. To say I have never experienced anything like this is not just a cliche. It doesn't even begin to explain. There is no gas to be purchased. There is no food to be bought. My neighborhood is riddled with downed trees, and there is only one way, an indirect route, to access my street without driving over downed wires. In times of crisis people are supposed to band together, but I haven't seen that community develop in NJ, perhaps in part because I have been isolated from the world. For two days we couldn't get info in, and now we are getting only snippets from Facebook, Twitter, and a few websites that will load, sporadically, on my phone.
This is the third extended power outage my neighbors and I have suffered in 14 months. Our community spirit is lost, in part I think, because this time it's so much worse.
I've been out of touch with work all week, unable to interact with my students or colleagues. A deadline is fast approaching, and I am unable to edit the document my coauthor and I have created. There is no place I can go to get access to the Internet; nothing is open; no one has access.
My university closed until Monday, as New York City fared as badly as we did. I am worried, however, that they will reopen, and I still will not be able to go to work. The trains aren't running. We don't have gas to drive anywhere. I cannot telecommute.
Amidst these worries are my prayers for those who have it so much worse. I know people who were rescued from Hoboken by the National Guard. I know people who lost houses at the shore. I know people who have abandoned their homes because it is too cold for their children. I know people who are facing major cleanup of their property. I am fortunate to worry only about how I will get to work on Monday.
My dad calls me "pioneer daughter," and we are indeed living a 21st century pioneer life right now. But my kids are playing happily behind me, building a luxury house out of Legos. At this point for them, luxury includes heat and running water, but I'm pretty sure we still have it better than the true pioneers.