Hurricane Sandy came and went, bringing with it destructive gusts, massive storm surges and a catastrophic doomsday screwing for the Northeast.
This was one of the worst hurricamnes on record to strike the New Jersey coast, causing untold damage and sending millions of lives into a deathspiral of total fuckitude.
Sandy made me homeless.
This she-bitch of the sky rained down a devastating blow to my tiny burgh by the ocean, eroding the beaches, flooding the streets and pissing on our parade. Beachfront houses clogged with sand, roadways choked with debris, and widespread power outages, plunging the city in the dark.
We Northeasterners aren't used to hurricanes. To us, hurricanes happen down in Florida and South Carolina, not New Jersey. We don't know where to begin dealing with the chaotic aftermath of such a storm.
And yet, as I walk these debris-strewn streets, pondering how this could have happened, the hurricane was real. A mighty hurricane did strike my town.
A mandatory evacuation was issued for Oct. 29, and anyone with a brain got out of Dodge. Those hearty few who remained faced no electricity, flooding and gale force winds. For 36 hours. Yeah, that soiunds like an enchanting evening.
To the ones like me who left, we watched the storm unfold on television, as every Philadelphia news reporter donned their L.L. Bean windbreakers and stood on the beach, bombarded by sheets of rain. If there's a mega-storm with the potential of abundant damage and misery, you can bet TV news will be all over that shit like Roman Polanski at a sweet 16 party.
The problem with these plastic people standing in the rain and reporting about overturned trees, shattered homes and flooding, is it's endless. To satiate the growing appetite for gloom and sadness, TV media's disastrer coverage seems gratuitous. It's grief porn, served up with images of wrecked neighborhoods, torrential downpours and grim-faced douchebags sloshing through hip-deep water.
And they play this over and over and over .
For many hours. Until you want to scream like a berzerker.
After seeing two days of apocalyptic storm footage and buildings that made Hiroshima after the atomic bomb look like a Midwestern planned suburban development, I headed down the shore to survey nature's wrath.
Police guarded the bridge leading into the island. The state restricted entry onto the barrier island, yet all I did was showed my identification and I was allowed to pass. What greeted me on the other side of the bridge was a town pulling its shit together after a rough night, like a woman straightening herself out after a particularly raucous and drunken date.
Except Sandy fucked the city hard, like a nuclear powered vibrator of ultimate doom.
My apartment got a foot of water inside it. The telltale signs of flooding showed; the high-water mark of grit and mucky silt from the bay washed on the door, revealing the water's depth. Once inside, I noted the awful fish smell permeating the apartment. The rugs were soaked. My DVDs stored on the bottom shelf of the entertainment center suffered damage, so did some books in my study. Water trickled down the wall of my study onto the desk. Sand and dirt were everywhere on the kitchen and living room floors. I opened the windows, mopped the kitchen floor and threw away food in the refrigerator. because when you have no electricity and the refrigerator hasn't worked for three days, that sauerbraten you got at Oktoberfest smells like patient zero at a leper colony.
The damage wasn't as bad as I anticipated, and for that, I'm grateful. I dodged a bullet here, and came out with drenched rugs, possessions and electrical sockets.
The landlord will see to it the rugs are replaced and the apartment is habitable ,but that'll take time. I've been living out of my suitcase for five days, hunkering down at my parent's place miles away. With a crappy commute in my future, a house filled with water damage and soggy DVDs and books, I'm very fortunate.
It could've been far worse. The Jersey coast is now the 9th Circle of Hell, a jumbled, wrecked and battered place wrought with miserable people digging out from the worst storm in recent memory.
A visit from Gov. Chris Christie and President Barack Obama lifted our spirits today, because these tow political titans are working together. Both men are wise enough to place partisan politics aside and unite efforts to assist the people in their time of need.
Our once quaint shore town is beaten, but we're not down. We're stubborn and tenacious. We don't quit.
Though challenges are imminent in my future, I've got to remain focused on the clean-up. I'm determined enough to deal with this setback in a calm, rational manner and plough ahead.
It's like I'm driving along life's highway and I hit a pothole. And a deer. And a Winebego filled with explosives. After the eventual mishap I yank myself up by my bootstraps, remove the splattered blood from my lapel and continue on, this time faster and with more resolve.
Like Christie and Obama proved with their collaborative efforts, we're all in this together.
Oh, and fuck Hurricane Sandy in her wet subtropical eye.