A minute-to-minute, in-depth account of Hurricane Irene.
[Update 3:04 p.m. Friday] Being as I do not have cable and I find news to be a generally frivolous assault on my easily rattled nerves and an already abysmal confidence in the human race, I have gone the better part of the day ignorant to the severity of the impending doom apparent. That is until I get a few phone calls from my parents asking me if I have candles and flashlights. I best look into this whole weather thingy.
[Update 4:01 p.m. Friday] Having now cnn.com’d the shit out of this Hurricane Irene business, I decide it might be wise to take a trip to my local organic market and stock up. I purchase provisions for the duration of my anticipated lockdown – which, according to the news, could be up to five days. Said provisions include: pomegranate Greek yogurt, Fuji apples, kale, two kinds of hummus, and coconut water. When I remember that I might be without power as of tomorrow, I randomly select canned soup, refried beans, and Nayonnaise for the tuna I think I already have in my pantry. I anticipate the next three days will be spent dining on cold legumes beside the warmth of my IKEA tea candles, romancing myself with movies from a pirated Netflix account. That is until some fallen tree knocks out my WiFi.
[Update 4:27 p.m. Friday] I subject myself to an additional supermarket trip to procure two rounds of Laughing Cow cheese, which I’m fairly sure, despite suggesting it be refrigerated by its manufacturer, could withstand being left at room temperature for the better part of a decade. Laughing Cow, as we all know, is not really cheese as much as it is a nuclear, Swiss-flavored paste. I take note of the palpable nervousness amongst the Brooklyners waiting in line – an electrical human energy that rests on the outer banks of widespread panic’s precipice.
[Update 4:36 p.m. Friday] I walk down to the hardware store to purchase a flashlight per my father’s orders. “Sorry, we’re out,” the black-polo-shirt-wearing man says, his arms straddling the counter. When he says it, I swear I see a smirk cross his lips, an unspoken chastisement for my unpreparedness. I walk down the street and immediately find an alternative purveyor of a finely shitty Made in China flashlight. Take that, black-polo-shirt-wearing asshole. I’m going to make it out of this thing alive, no thanks to you.
[Update 5:06 p.m. Friday] A friend who lives nearby tells me that we are included in Bloomberg’s Area A and will be required to evacuate tomorrow morning. After a frantic search for a street-by-street map that lasts the better part of forty minutes, I discover that I am actually in Area B, just a street away from the where the East River will come up and swallow us whole.
[Update 5:22 p.m. Friday] A friend informs me that she will be staying at the St. Regis hotel starting that evening. I contemplate the idea of free room service, a generator, and a 5th Avenue location that puts me smack in the middle of the East River and Hudson, upping my chances for survival.
[Update 6:09 p.m. Friday] Another buddy is hosting a little get-together this evening. I am torn between staying in and obliging my ramping nervousness or partying like it’s the end of the world. An hour later, I will commit to going out after my friend points out that we will be trapped indoors for a long time coming and we may as well being around humans as long as possible before disaster strikes.
[Update 7:18 p.m. Friday] I walk down to my beloved pier, afraid that it might be swept to sea at some point this weekend. I stand on its synthetic surface and say a little prayer, hoping to come back to find it all in one piece so that it and I may share many more sunsets together. “I love you, Pier,” I whisper, and I swear – beneath the sound of the crashing tide – I hear it say something back.
[Update 9:08 p.m. Friday] Sarah and I walk through the still streets of Manhattan, the stagnant humidity ravaging our sweat glands with no breeze to provide relief. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” says Sarah. I look at her with wide eyes and the uncanny feeling that we are both tapping into some underutilized 6th sense. “Me, too,” I say. “Me, too.”
[Update 11:46 p.m. Friday] Our End of the World hurricane party has turned into the typical Hey It’s Friday Night Let’s All Do Cocaine party. People keep disappearing into the back bedroom to “secretly” snort chemicals out of a twenty-dollar bill, as if their constant disappearance and red-nosed reemergence isn’t telling enough. I am forced to drink or die of boredom.
[Update 11:48 p.m. Friday] The aforementioned friend who is currently getting settled into the St. Regis informs me that she has been upgraded to a suite and that we have a butler named Charles who claims he can bring tea up to the room in 3 minutes. “See you tomorrow morning!” I say.
[Update 2:03 a.m. Saturday] Sarah and I walk back north towards our respective destinations. The journey up 3rd Avenue is fraught with obstacles, namely the Bridge & Tunnel crowd here for one last hoorah before all hell breaks loose. The Jersey boys yell things to each other, moving in feverish packs. The girls totter drunkenly in cheap plastic heels while they chew on gum like teething cows. The boozed-up drug crowd emerges from the Bowery Hotel, eyeliner propping their drooping eyelids with a false appearance of alertness. I turn to Sarah. “I feel like this is the neo-tale of Noah’s Ark, and these are all the awful heathens who are about to be drowned en masse.” If only.
[Update 2:11 p.m. Saturday] Sarah and I part ways at 1st Avenue. We hold each other in what might be our last embrace. See you next week…if we make it.