That hurricane, the real one, later did a number on the lower end of Manhattan. I live on the upper end.
When the storm picked up speed, with the sounds of sirens in the distance, my lights kept flickering but they never went out. I was positive the wind gusts and heavy objects slamming against my rental-property windows would break them. Today, those windows seem stronger than they’d been the day before the surge.
I know how it feels to struggle through acute hardship while you’re surrounded by people whose lives haven’t been upended by the misfortune that’s struck you. It’s a strange feeling to be surrounded by others’ acute hardship when you’re one of the people who’s been spared.
I’m not viewing photos and videos of a disaster zone in a land far, far away. My downtown (neighborhoods I’ve grown to love) has been drowned and darkened, while I’ve been staycationing uptown, baking loaves of banana bread and booking holiday-travel flights.
I didn’t live in NYC on 9/11. Although these are obviously two profoundly different types of tragedies, I now have a slightly better understanding of the emotional toll that first one took on the locals and the energy that ensued. If anyone most engagingly represents this strain of energy, it’s the trick-or-treaters – the ones dressed as heroines, the ones dressed as villains - I ran into outside tonight. The exuberance of their masses is as critical as it is contagious.