Last Thursday morning, I took a bus from Jay Street in Brooklyn to 55th and Lexington in Manhattan. We drove through desolate lower Manhattan. Power has still not been restored there. The shelter where I volunteer on 1st Ave and 9th hasn’t had power for over a week.
Once I finally checked the news for the first time in days, I became aware of the devastation on Staten Island. So much attention had been paid to lower Manhattan, Hoboken and my own Jersey City [which President Obama specifically mentioned in a speech on Wednesday night] I had no idea how bad it was there. Unfortunately, with public transportation still in shambles and the gas shortage there is little I can do there. Lucky for me, there is a volunteer effort accepting donations and a decently stocked grocery store within walking distance so I can at least help out other people in the area who don’t have power back yet and/or who can’t go home and are staying in shelters. Anyone near JC: relief effort at Barrow Mansion has enough volunteers, still needs paper towels, tuna, pasta, rice, canned food, flashlights.
What a relief the NYC Marathon was canceled — the “we shall prevail” sentiment just isn’t the same as after 9/11/2001. This time around, it had been mere days since the storm hit and took out power as well as inflicted significant property damage in many areas of the city. People are still without heat, hot water, food, water.
Door-to-door, it took me 3 hours to get to work today: over an hour waiting in line for the bus, then another hour+ on the bus and travel time on either side.
However, everything actually is business as usual north of 40th street. I was harried when I got to work today, but the office was bustling and I don’t know if people just assume I overslept when I came in at 10.15am. It will probably be a bit of an issue for me to leave at 5pm tonight so I don’t miss the last ferry. There is very little flexibility and understanding where visibility of the storm is non-existent.
And tomorrow is Election Day, so I will probably need to shower tonight, get up and vote tomorrow and try my luck with the ferry. Voter turnout was already going to be lower than 2008, and will be even lower with people not being in their homes or, quite frankly, worrying more about getting in a full day’s work rather than voting before or after work. But those who are excited are very excited and have trouble comprehending that u don’t plan to vote for either Obama or Romney: “who else is there” or “read about them and pick the lesser of two evils”, obviously having a strong favorite themselves. As usual, I’m more interested in the Congressional and local candidates and public questions than choosing between Kodos and Kang who have similar questionable views [actual record in the case of the incumbent president] on civil liberties, Guantanamo, killing citizens without due process, etc. It’s a good thing none of the states affected by Hurricane Sandy are swing states. I can practically hear the shrieks from both sides. As it is, when I told a neighbour my application for an absentee ballot was rejected on the grounds that the signatures didn’t match [entirely possible as mine evolve over the years — mine now is virtually unrecognizable from my first passport signature], she immediately cried voter fraud. Then I pointed out that if voter fraud actually had been the cause of the rejection, it would have been perpetrated by her own Democrats and not those evil, scheming Republicans. So just imagine all those purple-faced politicians…
And tomorrow, I think I will go ahead and throw my vote away.
Happy Election Day Eve!
Full “Citizen Kang” clip [which you should watch if you have not already seen it] [and it’s ridiculous if you haven’t already seen it] [and even if you have already seen it, which I hope you have, you should probably watch again] [now.]