Knocked cold by Sinister Sandy’s Shoulder

Photo by Colleen Wilson

It’s complacency really.  That’s my defense.  Complacency – along with a side order of impatience topped with boredom – is how I came to post such a silly thing as From the Shoulder of Hurricane Sandy early on Monday evening.  Ho hum … another “Monster Storm” bearing down on the East Coast.

I was so thoroughly unimpressed.

Three days later without electricity, heat, hot water … Creeping towards the edge of Unplugged Insanity … You tend to learn a few things about yourself.

  • You take way too many things for granted.  Could not count the number of times I mindlessly pawed a wall switch expecting the lights to come on as I entered a room.  After the first 100 failures, you would think your brain would make the adjustment.
  • When the Power goes out, you lose all perspective of what’s going on around you.  All you care about is how YOUR problem(s) will be resolved.
  • You resent The Lighted People, that cluster of homes just 100 yards from your backdoor that somehow had their power restored two days before you.
  • You can handle the stress of family challenges, work issues, health scares, and an important election.  But let a creature comfort – or two or three – disappear, and suddenly you’re fighting a long slide down into hysteria.
  • When the Power comes back on, and you see what other people are dealing with here and elsewhere as the result of Sinister Sandy, you feel like a schmuck for complaining about your situation.
  • And you come to realize if The Big One hits, you probably won’t make it – physically or mentally – to the end of the Week 1!

Sad that last one, but probably true.  You realize how fragile your relatively sane existence is, based as it is on mass technology, connected to a network that can be thrown into chaos by a few strategically placed trees and a good huff from Mother Nature.

Yes, that’s an over-simplification of what happened this week.  But you get my drift, don’t you?

Photo by Tara M. Smith

If the definition of Insanity is repeating the same action over and over again – like pawing at a powerless wall switch – and expecting a different result, I was technically insane by Tuesday evening.  The same holds true for reacting as though every truck you hear coming down the street is a caravan of utility trucks (The techs wearing white hats and halos, no doubt.) coming to the rescue … or that every rumor you hear (“The guy who lives down the street from my sister’s hair dresser says we’ll have power by 8:00 PM tonight!”) is based on any whiff of fact.

You resolve to change a few things, you know you won’t.  Buy a generator; pay serious attention to the weather forecasters; take a survivor skills course (for The Big One, ya know!); watch Doomsday Preppers without laughing; learn to camp, fish, hunt; pledge to reduce your Carbon Footprint …

eh … Who am I kidding?!?  When the NEXT 50-year storm hits, I’ll be long gone.  Won’t I?!?

(Tip of Cranky’s Lawn Mower to the guys from Illinois, whose company name I cannot recall that were responsible for getting a nice chunk of us Horshamites back on the grid!)

4 thoughts on “Knocked cold by Sinister Sandy’s Shoulder

  1. Joni was right, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone. We have become a society of wimps and slaves to technology. For most people Sandy was an irritation, for others a real problem. But all in all it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it can get. Can we even accurately assess the conditions of mass evacuations ala WW2? Our turn for such an event is coming. It’s a matter of when, not if, that California will get “The Big One” at which time 10’s of millions will be either one the move or totally stranded. That is one scenerio. Some of us feel our concerns for social/economic collapse are legitimate. History bears out that reality, as does the current direction of civilization.

    I would be classified as a prepper. To the hardcore prepper I’m a hobbist, to some of my friends and neighbors I’m half nuts. A few people questioned why I dragged home a small cast iron wood stove a few years ago. Not that I care much what they think but I imagine at least a couple of them are getting the point now. My wife and I are fairly serious canners who grow our own food, we both have first aid training, keep a well stocked pantry, save milk jugs(water), keep gasoline and propane reserves, have an above average knowledge of what is edible in the wild, own a variety of firearms (both hunting and defensive) along with enough ammo (though you can rarely have enough) and are wise enough to realize that “going to the mountains” is a seriously bad idea. We won’t be bugging out, we’re bugging in.

    Now that we live deep into Northern Wisconsin our plans make even more sense. And we now have more resouces to call upon as well as more time to perfect our skills.


    • Great comment, Eric. Thanks!

      I’m really going to have to consider taking at least a few steps to prepare for whatever-might-happen. I have a school friend and a neighbor who are adamant about being ready.

      I should take a few lessons from them.


      • Please do that Mike. Last year after Irene my area was without power. I was dismayed by how many people had no idea what to do during long term blackouts. Little things like don’t use the refrigerator…..know what you want and get it quick. Freeze water before the storm and use it to keep the freezer frozen. BTW, cram plastic bags with water into the nooks and crannies, it ups the time you have before the food thaws and gives you ice when the oustside temps are high. After the storm they tried to get propane, and ice. Fat chance…it was gone already. How many this time didn’t fill their cars before the storm, and get a few gallons in a jug for good measure? Simple candles… need a bunch. This time heat is a factor. For about $20 you can purchase a heater that attaches directly onto a 30lb propane tank. It’ll heat a 20’x20′ room from 30 to 70 in less than an hour and last about 30 hours… full blast.

        Imagine this. The storm is full force, the roads impassible, 911 police/fire cannot get to you. Your window just blew in or a tree came down on your house and there are serious injuries involved. Pretty standard scenerio, ask Katrina and Andrew veterans. What do you do? How do you stop the bleeding, prevent infection, calm the victim? Do you remove the glass or debris or leave it? In some cases you want to remove it, in others no. So which is the right tactic for this incident? There is where the first aid training comes in.

        There are plenty of books available for emergency preparation. Get a few. Medical being a primary need. Learn exactly how to make water safe, sometimes boiling isn’t an option. Books such as these on hand can not only save a life but make life easier during an emergency. Forget youtube and Wiki, they will not be available. Learn to read a map and use a compass, GPS won’t be working. The list goes on. Next week go over to the library and check out all the material available then decide what you need to know.


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