STANDING TOE TO TOE WITH FRANKENSTORM
Greetings from Frankenstorm's bullseye. Don't you just love that it isn't enough for weather forecasters to try and scare the crap out of everyone once a large storm develops, but now they have to give them ominous nicknames as well? "Snowicane!!" "Frankenstorm!" Weathermen, and women, like this make me pine for the days when all they did was give the five day forecast, tell a lame joke and just turn it back over to Frank for Sports.
I live on the south shore of Long Island, thankfully Clay doesn't hold this against me, and my house is on a barrier beach, about 500 yards from both the beach and the bay. So when they give these mandatory evacuations and politicians like Mayor Bloomberg of New York talk about "selfish people putting our emergency personnel at risk if they stay", they are talking about me, because I'm not going anywhere. Sorry Mayor Mike, If I was a billionaire and owned about ten of these things I may think about it, but this is all we've got, and I have worked like hell to get it, so I'm staying. And by the way, cops, fireman and EMS workers signed up to rescue foolhardy types like me, it's part of your job description. If god forbid me and my dogs need help, it's your job to show up.
So with some free time on my hands waiting for the "Monster", a few thoughts.
1. Enough of the hyperbole and warnings, we get it, it's a big storm.
You want a drinking game that will get you wasted in about 30 minutes, put on the Weather Channel and drink every time you hear words like "killer", "dangerous", "life threatening" or "historic". These guys live to scare the hell out of you, storms like this are Christmas, New Years and their birthday rolled into one night. And it has gotten worse, I have lived on the water my whole life, but if you listened to the local forecasters I should have been dead years ago, because save for one time when I was 16 years old, I have never left. I know this a big storm, but the language is getting out of hand, if you believe these guys George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg are minutes away from driving past my house on a sword boat as a Tsunami the size of the Sears Tower chases them down the street. And by the way, death tolls from the Carribean do not count, we don't live in shacks made of scrap metal from abandoned cruise ships placed on hillsides that have a history of mudslides, so if 30 people died in Haiti that is tragic, but it doesn't mean it is now a "KILLER STORM", it just means it hit Haiti. If I didn't know any better I would say that weathermen buy stock in all of the companies that sell flashlights, batteries and bottled water. And people that buy flashlights before every storm, go stand with the snowshovel buyers, and here's a tip, find a box and put a label marked "Hurricane" for next years storm. Place supplies, including flashlights inside, you're welcome.
2. Women just don't get certain things, football obsession, logic, and the fact that unless there is a real chance of getting killed, the rule is, get your family to a safe place, then stay home and ride it out.
Last year my wife was shocked when I told her I was staying, she kept telling me "it's mandatory", "You have to go." She is new to the shore and didn't know what I know. Which is, first off, the government isn't going to drag you out of your house like the Stasi if you refuse to leave, they truly do not care about your welfare, do you know what they care about? Liability, lawsuits. It's really simple, they figure if dopes like me stay, and let's say my house floods and I call 911 and they never show, (because if you listen to Bloomberg or Fat Ass Chris Christie, cops and fireman aren't supposed to respond to emergencies) they figure that they can use the mandatory evacuation order as a defense when my wife sues them if I die, plain and simple. Want proof of this, fine, New York City issued an evacuation order to low lying areas of the city, and then shut down the transit system; conveniently forgetting that the bulk of the people they just ordered to leave don't own cars and need buses and subways to travel. So they want people to pack up and walk through the storm that they are saving them from, where to? Who cares, just don't call 911, don't even think about it.
The second thing is this, if there is a good chance you will live through the storm, as a man you have to stay, it comes with being a father and husband. Once they are safe inland (mine are) you have to stay in case shit goes bad, period. I'm not the handiest guy around, but I know this, I can help stop a leak or some other problem a lot better from my home than sitting in my in-laws house playing monopoly.
3. Why is it that as the "Storm of the Century", at least until next year, bears down and threatens to destroy literally my entire life's tangible accomplishments, I couldn't be happier.
I adore my wife and daughter, my life is meaningless without them, yet sitting in an empty house, watching football, having a few scotches and hanging with my dogs is pure bliss. Are my priorities shot or am I just a man? I mean, I am not having any parties over here, some friends are -coastal towns tend to be drinking towns- and I'm not going to drink to the point where I can't deal with any problems, if my family was here I would likely be doing the same thing, but when married guys have the place to themselves, they turn into full grown McCaulay Culkins, I may go jump on my bed and start scarfing popcorn just because I can.
4. One final thought, can we stop acting like the loss of power = the end of the world.
Look, I hope the lights stay on, but if they don't, I have books, music, and my own thoughts. Remember those people? Before modern technology made us unable to even stand in an elevator for 60 seconds without checking our e-mail or twitter feeds? Civilization progressed for centuries without power, lights and yes, even the internet. A few days without it won't kill you.
So if any of you are in the Monster's path, good luck, I will be here, hoping that God invented sand dunes for a reason.
UPDATE: 7:00 a.m. The good, first high tide, not even a puddle in the street, The Bad, it's 40 degrees, losing power will mean losing heat, not usually an issue with hurricanes, but it is today, The Ugly, 12 hours from the storm really hitting and the wind is already gusting to 40 mph.