Saturday, August 27, 2011
Light rains all day, and it's just picked up a bit with a low roll of thunder. We'll see how this works out. There have already been fatalities down south, but I've seen no word if it was water, wind, or something collapsing that caused them. It's going to be an interesting night up and down the coast.
Perhaps the most alarming local news so far is that THERE ISN'T NOW AND NEVER HAS BEEN AN EMERGENCY EVACUATION PLAN FOR 12,000 INMATES ON RIKER'S ISLAND. This is a particularly disturbing scenario, as these men and women are locked away on a very vulnerable patch of land right in harm's way. Say what you will, but a large number of these human beings are in there for crimes that many of us have gotten away with repeatedly. The phrase, "there but for the grace of God," applies every which way to this situation. Fatalities as a result of this criminal negligence will be on the hands of Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Corrections.
There have been many other sound preparations. At-risk neighborhoods are divided into three evacuation zones and the most vulnerable have been mandated to pack up and leave. Those who decide to stay are, as the Mayor has stated, on their own.
I am several blocks uphill from Zone C so I'm theoretically safe, unless the drains and sewer are overwhelmed by rain and back up into the houses. There are many advantages to a basement apartment, but they are pretty much nullified in these rare cases. There isn't much that can be done, so we've made basic preparations to fly on a moment's notice. Miss Jane Pitbull has been on edge and growing increasingly squirrelly, but that may have something to do with several feral cats trying to pry their way into the back windows. I feel badly for them, but... We will see how it goes.
There are two schools of thought on the perceived danger of this storm, in regard to the city. One is to prepare for The End of Days. The other is like the grasshopper from the old fable. Dance, fiddle and sing... we're not going any damn place. Few appear to be holding the middle ground.
I headed out to Rockaway Beach early this morning, hoping to catch a bit of a thrill. While it is always awe-inspiring and humbling to sit before the ocean, it was just a bit more so facing the higher-than-average surf and infinite mist. There was simply a greater awareness of the vast forces that dwarf even our imaginations. Or the imaginations of anyone grounded in anything resembling reality. It doesn't take much more than the approach of a huge storm to become right-sized against the world and/or any Higher Power you claim a connection to.
It was mostly just peaceful there in the mist, which would clear just enough every so often to reveal dozens of surfers out just beyond the breakers, waiting for something just a bit bigger than the last one.
And that is the day, thus far. I turn 50 years old tomorrow, and though I couldn't imagine even at 40 that I would be around at 50... and no, I'm not being morbid or ego-stricken as I am just an average man... and yes, anything can happen on the overnight... it is pretty much as inevitable as this rain and whatever is behind it. It's supposed to be one of those benchmark birthdays, just as Irene is supposed to be "THE BIG ONE," but against the greater scheme of things, time and the universe, it's just another day. It doesn't matter how much you talk it up.