After Sandy: Bay Ridge and beyond

Big things and little in my neighborhood, day after Sandy.176607_10151113669092335_1554886193_o

The large black/dark grey rocks below the retaining wall are normal, the 1/2 to 1 football-sized rocks on the pavement etc are not! This bank was solid the day before.


Rocks and sea sand, a gift from Sandy.


This isn’t what the place usually looks like!


No idea what this pipe is.


The other end of the pipe. You can see the size of it by the garden chairs.


Rock stuck under the railing, and seaweed.


Kids returning stones to the sea. Super cute.


By the bridge.


The base of the tree.


The other end of the tree.


The second car under the same tree. End to end across the street, one car under each end. Yesterday I walked by and didn’t see the cars, which is to say apparently hurricanes leave one shaken up.

I just heard an estimate of 20 billion for Hurricane Sandy related damage. Is this non-business friendly enough for Republicans to now acknowledge climate change science?

10 years at NASA, and my first job was calculating what happened to clouds in the presence of greenhouse gases (roughly). This devastation needn’t be happening on this scale. I can’t reconcile ‘family values’ with people voting to doom their children to this and worse for the sake of a short-term bottom line.

I seldom talk about my NASA days, it’s not relevant to the present. But then I seldom feel like punching someone, or maybe half a country.

Minor personal note: there’s an absurdity to canceling an overseas vacation because I wasn’t sure I was well enough for the stress of travel only to have a hurricane come visiting. Which is to say, it’s time for me to rest and write for a few days.

11/6: Thinking of all those in 6 hours voting lines in winter weather, or struggling to get to the polls in hurricane affected areas with no gas: thank you. Stay safe.

11/7: Snowflakes. Fat snowflakes in between the drizzle. Please don’t let it snow on flooded people.

11/8: Sorry, but I’m just watching election night news now: FOX News said Republicans lost the election because the hurricane ‘disrupted the story line’? This is what they think is important about an event that smacked 60 million people upside the head?

11/10, morning: Subtle but pervasive shifts in the texture of life here, and weird dissonances. Life is back to near normal for some and still completely destroyed for others. Scarcity of gas makes it harder for those who would try to help and changes a million small things. It’s strangely difficult even to know what to think and feel.

A friend on the west coast asked me how things were in NYC and I just started to laugh and couldn’t stop. At this point zombies wouldn’t surprise me!

People here are comparing it to 9/11. I was in a healthier place on 9/11. Living near Fort Meade, lots of military families and a neighbor who worked at the Pentagon and didn’t come home for 3 days. I was healthy enough then to know that if one wasn’t experiencing the disaster, then emotion enough to help was useful but past the point of what one could do it wasn’t right to get spun up. A form of disrespect to the people experiencing the real trauma. Trickier as a writer, I’m feeling a need to record and monitor as well, which means resonating somewhat.

Trick is empathy exists to motivate us to help. Past the point we can help, it isn’t useful. Tired, so the boundaries are not as easy: human response here, nosey-parker writer there.

11/10, afternoon:  Exterminator just came. He lives on Staten Island, works for the Department of Buildings. Talked of 20′ storm surge and 20′ wave behind that. That people ordered to evacuate stayed and are now bodies being pulled out of houses. I asked if they were given resources to evacuate with, and he didn’t think so. Now I am wondering about the income level in these areas. A horrid question. I’m sure some people stayed because Hurricane Irene was a non-event and so they expect Sandy to be a false alarm too. But there may have been others… Meanwhile the guy got here and was another familiar face not drowned, which is always nice.

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