If I could get in touch with my mother right now, I’d actually let her indulge in saying, “I told you so” over and over. She had been ranting about this storm since last Wednesday when I was too busy to care — wrangled up in grad school midterms and World Series prep at work. I should have paid closer attention. My mother is like the boy who cried wolf too many times, after a while you just stop listening.
Last year’s Irene had spurred full panic mode in my family, leading to what turned out to be the unnecessary evacuation of my father from Rockaway Beach to my mom’s house in Staten Island, where he was stuck for a week. And it turned out to be not much more than a rainstorm. I thought this time it would be more of the same — worry up, hurry up and then nothing. I was wrong.
It was awkward for my father to stay there last year with his ex-wife and her husband, my stepdad, but it surely must be more awkward for him right now to be without power and a phone. He didn’t want to evacuate, he’d ride it out, he said. I’m sure he’s fine, just frazzled. But I don’t know for sure. In the morning, I am driving out to Rockaway Beach, if I can get over the bridge to check on him. I don’t know what I will find. I’ve seen pictures of the streets covered in thick sand. Will I be able to drive through that? I’ve seen more pictures of over 50 houses burned to the ground in Breezy Point, just a few miles from him. I’ve heard the boardwalk lifted off and flew into a building’s lobby — destroying the pool. Ok, he does have a glass lobby, but thankfully, no pool.
He’s on the fourth floor and had plenty of food. But he’s also partially disabled since his stroke ten years ago, and this is feeling eerily familiar. The unease, the unknown. I will never underestimate a storm again.
I was foolish to think I could enjoy a day or two off from school and work — not with this massive anxiety. Sandy, you bitch, you got me!