My lord, this is the freakiest storm I’ve seen, and there aren’t that many I’ve experienced first-hand. Hurricane Sandy is rumored to be the century’s ‘perfect storm’ because it’s combining with a winter nor’easter moving from the north. And boy is it a real and roaring monster. Monday evening into Tuesday is going to be the brunt of the storm. Gusts will reach 70-80 mph. Major flooding is to strike the South Shore. Power outages will be expected across Long Island for days to even weeks! EEEK!
As I sat by my living room window Monday night, I witnessed the swishing trees and gusty winds and swirling autumn leaves. My power went out by 5pm. I charged up my phone and laptop, but no way were they going to last beyond 4 hours to occupy my lonely night. Did I dare traverse the storm to Winthrop Hospital across the street and leech off the generator powers? Only if I wished to fly for free to Hawaii.
I was home over the weekend before the storm. I wanted to call my Mom and Dad to let them know that yet again, another major storm was going to hit the East Coast while they were away on vacation. Last year’s problem was Hurricane Irene when they were in San Diego with my sister. This year, it was going to be Hurricane Sandy when they were halfway across the world in Shanghai. I didn’t know if the impending doom would impact their travels on Wednesday, when they will be coming through JFK airport.
I was home Sunday. That evening, I was like “What storm, eh?” I didn’t believe the reports on TV. I didn’t stock up on food or batteries or candles. I was just going to live it up like a caveman straight from the mammoth days. Last year, Hurricane Irene was all hyped up to be a troublemaker. This year, I chose to believe otherwise. Then again, I think I was just lucky last year when my power stayed and the condominium stood strong. No guarantees for this year.
So that Sunday night, the winds were picking up, but no heavy rains yet. The next morning, I woke up to find the skies grim and trees swaying more vigorously, but not like they were bending at the trunk and slapping the condominiums. According to the news, the storm was not set to strike Long Island until the evening hours, so if I were to make my escape back to Mineola, it better be sooner rather than later.
The highway was not traffic jammed at the usual 9am. While driving, I never felt so scared and unstable. I definitely felt the tires slip on the wet highway, even while going slower at 60 mph instead of my usual 70+ mph. I hated the trucks that were driving faster than I was, in the middle lane, to my right and left sides, and smack in front of me. The rainwater would splash up from the humongous wheels and completely cloud and obstruct my view! I freaked out oh so terribly on the highway, but I had to keep my cool. It’s in these weather conditions you get careless drivers who drive too fast, slip, crash, and burn. This was the ultimate test of my defensive driving skills and sense of calm amidst potential danger.
When I safely arrived at Winthrop, I was still debating whether I should go to the Winthrop Pediatrics clinic or not. It was open until 12pm, and I figured I should show up and meet the crew. Plus, I couldn’t complain too much, speaking the worst of the weather was yet to come and that I lived across the street from the hospital. I filled up on gas and my car was safely parked in the hospital garage. Now I just had to make sure my umbrella would survive the storm with me.
And who knew you could still get days off in medical school due to weather-related misfortunes? Two whole days… Screwed up a week of a rotation I was enjoying.
Back to the present time… So this is what a hurricane is like? You hear the wind howling like a madman. You fight the wind with your dainty umbrella of a shield. You feel like you’re about to fly away like you’re attached to lots of balloons. The gust of wind slaps you left, right, and bottom up until you feel numb. When the power goes out, you are alone in a silent, black world. You are left with nothing else to do but sleep. The only light that you can see comes from across the street, where a generator fuels the hospital like glucose to the human body. It’s the only source of light in town, as you can see a red glow to the darkened skies and stormy clouds.