Hurricane Sandy is barreling down the East coast miles above the churning Atlantic Ocean right now. As you read this paragraph, a monster made of energy and all sorts of ferocious power is rotating in the heavens just waiting to crap down lightning and bullets of water against the inhabitants of this tiny globe. We must have pissed off the atmosphere one too many times and now, after several false alarms, this could be the proverbial mother-of-all storms. I believe the eye of the milky-way shaped natural wonder is hovering near the Carolinas. If you had the guts and, I would assume, supernatural powers to stand near the center of the storm and look up, you would probably see a red-eye full of malice and rage with no other purpose than to terrorize us for intruding its orbit.
Meteorologists and laymen alike will never fully understand each other. It usually works in our favor to take the advice from the truly informed professionals. As opposed to your average bar room nonsense fabricated by way too much alcohol and a grandiose sense of knowledge. How about the guy standing at the bus stop looking at the clouds? Nine times out of ten he’ll give you his two cents worth. When someone lacks the proper education to give you a lucid and educated guess as to the proper trajectory of a category one hurricane shooting up from the south at a gazillion miles per hour, they will credit their theories on experience from previous storms. This is what I do.
The pros say one thing, our neighbors say something else and when it comes down to it, we fail to concur and wait for them to retract what they’ve told us. When Irene struck in 2011 we were told to shovel holes underground and hide like a pack of groundhogs with all the survival equipment we could strap to our backs. Not much happened. But we comply and prepare because not to do so would be asinine. The wind howls, rain falls, branches topple telephone poles, more huffing and puffing from the galactic phenomenon and boom, the power goes out. Back to the Middle Ages we go!
I am generally concerned about this pre-Halloween trick. When the weather guy on T.V throws his hands in the air repeatedly and when it’s obvious he has no power to force his eyeballs to blink, I guess it would make sense to heed his warning and haul ass. He just told us the subways in NYC will be forced to shut down tonight and the LIRR will be out-of-order, who knows? Maybe the National Guard will come rolling in next.
I like storms though. It has a way of breaking monotony and it makes me believe this is the way earth releases its stress. Through hurricanes and snowstorms and Wizard of Oz style tornadoes, the earth regurgitates its frustration and reminds us the fate of humanity lies within its ability to tolerate us, and we should be happy if it allows us to survive another uppercut from one of its roaming fists made of dark smoke and terrible thunder.
The markets are packed with little old ladies roaming for cheap canned goods, there are parents purchasing milk for screaming brats, single women are stocking up on God knows whatever it is they stock up on, bachelors like myself linger around the snack area trying to figure out if a box of crackers can last us three days and will it go well with my beer. A frantic call over the intercom, someone has slipped in frozen foods, people fight over a leg of lamb, a single roll of toilet paper flies over my head. It’s just your average end of the world crisis being played out in your local food store.
Gas stations are backed up down the road too. It’s amazing how confused the whole parking lot becomes once there’s a threat of a gas shortage. People just sit in their vehicles and stare straight ahead waiting for the guy in front of them to pull out, shake off and put the nozzle back in its place, and that’s not a euphemism. It’s all good because someone in the Middle East is making money. More good news for us Americans (um, yes this is dry sarcasm at its best). Some tough guy will get out of his car and yell at the person in front of him for not moving fast enough. I sit and think you can only go as fast as the pump allows you maniac. An old man bangs on his steering wheel; someone else overflows their tank and the flammable substance leaks dangerously all over their pants, but it’s no big deal, it’s just your everyday emergency.
Thankfully it’s an election month so gas prices have dropped considerably in our favor, just in time for the storm of the century. Yet it doesn’t really matter because the officials have called a state of emergency for most of the coastline. Many people have to evacuate homes and leave their lives in the hands of a terrible situation in which they have no control. Please seek out proper shelter if you have to evacuate. Call your local Red Cross for more information.
This type of storm is a wonderful excuse to break out the survival gear your wife mocks you for owning. Short of a zombie apocalypse, this is the right time to use it. I keep a bag near my bed and another in my vehicle in case I find myself in a situation where I have to be mobile. I thought about giving you a detailed list of what to keep in a survival kit, but I’m not going to. There are other websites you can visit which will probably be more beneficial to you than mine would. If you’ve been paying attention to this article I just finished telling you I was shopping for crackers and beer a day before a hurricane. All jokes aside, go buy Les Stroud’s book “Survived” and you will find yourself ready to take on anything Mother Nature has to throw at you.