I’m not going to lie. I’ve been totally slack on the ol wewine front of late. And I feel totally guilty about it. I keep putting off posting in fear of not having anything to say. Or because there’s pizza I could be eating. But there’s always something in the back of my mind going ‘Grey, write a damn blog already’. And I’ve been staring at the screen for a good long while with a blank expression to match the blank piece of virtual paper in front of my eyes.
“What the hell am I going to write?” I keep thinking. And then, about five minutes ago I decided to check out the WordPress Daily Prompts page.
I don’t like the word for today (which is breathe) but I do like the word for yesterday – disaster. Maybe that says something weird about me. But I like it because it reminds me of a time when my whole life changed.
And if you know anything about me, you’ll probably already know that I’m talking about when I lived in NYC, back in 2012. What a rush. First time in my life I’d properly done something by myself. First time I’d properly moved away from home. And first time surviving a natural disaster!
That’s right. I got caught up in Hurricane Sandy. And let me tell you this. It. Was. Awesome…So, let’s take a trip back to October 2012…
I’ve been living in the dorms for a few months and the news has just hit. Hurricane Sandy is in full swing, she’s coming, and she’s prepared to hit hard. Naturally, the dorm is in a frenzy. The twenty or so of us in our clique start coming up with action plans running across the already wet street to Food Town and stocking up our carts with days worth of non-perishables (a lot of mac and cheese, and vodka). Because, adults.
For the time being, we still have television connection, and are able to watch the news reports of Sandy creeping along the skyline. And damn, she means business. The wind is howling and rain is hitting hard against the glass. It’s actually kind of exhilarating. As much as it rains in England, I’ve never seen anything like this, let alone been in the middle of it. It’s the kind of thing I’ve only ever seen in movies. And honestly, I can’t help thinking that even though so much destruction is already happening…it’s really freaking exciting.
We start lighting candles and getting cosy about 6pm. Outside is just grey. That dark-rumbling-cloud kind of grey. But there’s also this light. This soft, almost comforting orange light trying to break through behind those giant menaces of clouds..as if the sun is doing everything it can to just remind us she’s still there, somewhere.
Of course the drinks start getting poured. We all started to relax. And then Julian, usually a super chill dude, starts freaking out. He’s running around like a headless chicken. He’s scared. He’s read something online about it being more than likely that all the water pipes will break and that the roof will cave in. Good job we’re on the ground floor then…We’re laughing, hoping it’s not true. Mainly because peeing in a bucket for the next few days does not sound fun.
Naturally, we just turn to more drinking. (Adulting hard.) So far, Sandy has been pretty fun. She’s still letting all hell break loose outside, but we’re actually happy where we are.
A little while later and Annie’s broken out her camera. It’s time to make Sandy: The Documentary. It’s ‘gritty’ and ‘real’. She interviews everyone with questions about the storm, how they feel and what they want to say just incase we don’t survive. A few days later as we edit and watch it…it’s just a bunch of drunk twats dancing around and chatting absolute bullshit. But it’s goddamn perfect.
And then, out of nowhere, the power is gone. Just like that. Without even a telling flicker. Just, darkness. And that thing happens, like when you’re in a classroom and it suddenly starts to snow. All at once we run to the window with a collective, resounding “OHHHH!!”.
It’s kinda beautiful though don’t you think? There’s a romance that comes with the darkness of a storm. And in our group of almost adults, we knew this was an adventure. This was so exciting. And it threw out the adult and brought out the child in all of us.
All of a sudden we’re running riot through the halls of the dorm! We have four floors to cover and multiple doors to play knock-and-run on. We have only the flashlights of our phones and a couple of dimming glowsticks to light the way. And each other. The elevators aren’t working so it’s up the creepy fire exit stairs. Grabbing hands, hips and shoulders we move, like a drunken snake. And I’m usually afraid of any situation involving creeping through darkness…but this storm just gives me adrenaline! Maybe it’s some inner lightning.
And then, it’s said.
“Hey guys…let’s go on the roof!”
A huge, flat, open roof terrace, that up until now had been the perfect sun trap. It’s probably the drinks talking…but doesn’t this sound like the best idea ever? Why not go outside?! Why not step right into Sandy?! She doesn’t scare us…that much.
So we go on up. And maybe it did scare some people, as our big group quickly diminishes to about six by the time we reach the final flight of stairs. But we’re ready. The door, which is always wedged open, is throwing rain in. We aren’t even outside yet and already we’re getting soaked. One by one we take the step. I clutch on to my then boyfriend James’ hand. He’s strong. He’ll save me.
And then we’re out, in the open. And my good god, it’s crazy. The boys are utter daredevils. They’re jumping, to see how far Sandy’s wind can grab ahold of them. Us girls are in hysterical laughter.
And the city around us? Patches of Manhattan are sunk into complete darkness. Other bits with just the tiniest of light. Candles in windows. It really is quite beautiful, albeit a strange thing to see for a city that never sleeps.
And, as I stand, hands wrapped around a pole, my laughter being carried into Sandy’s howls, I feel something crazy. Never has rain hit my body so hard. And never has my hair been whipped around so much. I am truly, utterly chilled to my bones like never before and the thought of ever being dry again seems impossible. But honestly, in the midst of feeling like we could all die, I have never felt more alive.
The darkness didn’t scare me. The guy’s almost falling off the side of the roof didn’t scare me (much). This was the first time I really wasn’t scared of the dark. This was the first time the dark disasters of the world gave me a new perspective. How funny a feeling to see things better when you’re cloaked in darkness. I guess eating all those carrots as a kid really does pay off.
Hurricane Sandy came and went. She caused so much destruction to the city of New York and the east coast of the USA. It was really quite sad to see such a thriving place suddenly broken. But she did not break the spirits of the city. And she did not break us. She did not win this round. She just made life that little bit more adventurous….