"We can't send you a cab: there is just no gas!" The cab operator went on to explain that drivers were waiting five or six hours in line to pay six dollars a gallon for strictly rationed gasoline. Sandy already blew away one of my flights out of the states, and she was threatening to do it to another.
Two nights prior, I crossed the Williamsburg Bridge into drowned out Manhattan; all the power below 40th street was cut. All the lights were out. Hauntingly, the lamps lighting the bridge were cut off at its very apex. Approaching the middle from the Brooklyn side showed nothing but blackness, as if the bridge was unfinished halfway.
New York was a ghost town. Each skyscraper had maybe one or two glowing squares on the sum of its surfaces – tiny candles reflecting really how few of those living in Manhattan chose to remain. With the exception of the now candle lit bars, the streets were for the most part barren. The homeless – no doubt used to living without – also remained. They had torn open barrels and set their contents ablaze to keep warm and thus put the finishing touches on the post-apocalyptic zombie film mis-en-scene.
I, like many, didn't take the hurricane very seriously. Although my neighborhood was spared the worst of it, I think I'll take better care to make sure my apartment has an adequate stock of clean water, flashlights, and beans. Lots of beans.
|Just Before the hurricane's peak|
We did end up finding a cab – we were taken to JFK International by a Bangladeshi who worked for a private Brooklyn based cab service and whom I was pretty sure was only Bangladeshi to taunt me for having to cut Bangladesh out of my itinerary – and I say “we” because my sweetheart is a romantic and made sure we were flying out of the same time and place. When the time came I picked what I thought was the most cinematic of parting spots: right in the very center of the check-in lobby in a patch of even sunlight. We exchanged first tear soaked goodbye letters and then tear soaked goodbye kisses. I left with my stomach tied up in a big monkey’s fist of a knot. I swallowed melatonin and prayed for sleep that would never come.