I have been stranded by hurricanes in the past. During Hurricane Isaac I was stranded In Curacao. With my boredom with the non-stop frolicking on the beach, I went searching across the country for a lighthouse. What a glorious adventure that eventually ended with me not finding a lighthouse. But I gave it the good old college try. Fur Hurricane Sandy, this is has been insanely different. I have gone without power at my house for over 50 hours now with no end in sight (pun intended). I have spent a good 15 hours looking for places at which to charge my electronics (cause who can live without phone, facebook, the internet in general, nowadays). I have spent the hours during which I did manage to charge up my electronics (public library, dine, starbucks) trying to get a hotel. Everytime I thought I had found one and was entering my credit card information I would get an error message that would read “sorry, that room is no longer available.” We got in the car and drove up to several hotels. Everywhere we went we got the same look of pity and same line “sorry we are all booked today and tomorrow.” I will give a shout out to the Hampton Inn for taking our names and numbers down in case there were cancellations and for offering shelter in their lobby where we could charge up our phones and use their computers to try to book a hotel elsewhere. They offered us a warm room to hang out in and comforting smiles. We never did get a call with them. Seeing the devastation everywhere I am sure there are no cancellations to be had.
We slept in the dark house for two nights in a row with the temperatures dipping more and more. At 4am, I turned on my phone looking at the 40% remaining bar. I typed in several hotels for which I have frequent guest rewards. Hell, I have elite status because of all my business travels one of them had to come through, right? Well, at 4am one hotel suddenly popped up as having a room available. Hallelujah. I felt like I had one the lottery. I did not care that it was in another state, over 40 miles away. We went for it! We then learned from Con Edison that we may not have power for another 4-5 days. Really? I tried to extend the reservation and I couldn’t. All rooms were already booked for the next few nights. This was super early in the morning. How many of us were doing hotel searches at 5am? I was desperate. At this point, we had multiple phones turned on trying to do hotel searches. At long last, we came across a hotel in an extremely remote part of New York at which we would have to go across the recently closed bridges. How safe was that area? Didn’t care. We went for it. So, at the end of it all, we are having to hotel hop each night. Searching for a hotel in a darkened cold house at 5am is just not cool nor as sexy as searching for a lighthouse.
Speaking of dark houses and power outages. I lived in California for five years, during the height of its energy crisis that they tried to lessen by instituting rolling black-outs. During that time I had one power outage that lasted more than 5 hours. Here in New York in the span of three year, I have endured three blackouts that were definitely longer than 5 hours. As a matter of fact, I have now endured power outage longer than 5 days several times. What gives? How can the county of Westchester that has one of the highest, if not the highest, tax rates (along with high incomes) suffer through so many blackouts? What are my local taxes paying for? Can we not ensure that a basic necessity such as electricity is something we can count on? Hmm. Elections are less than a week away. What can we do about our situation?
Tell me what’s wrong with this picture: Price gouging, looting, Halloween trick or treating on blacked out streets with downed power lines At press conference after press conference, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Christie and Governor Cuomo repeatedly used the phrase “use common sense” “ act like an adult” and “take responsibility for your actions.” They may have to add “karma will come to bite you in the behind…”
Let’s starts with price gouging. Let’s just state outright price gouging is wrong, morally wrong and just mean-spirited. In New Jersey last year, they had to pass a law stating that price gouging during a state of emergency is illegal. We are in a capitalist society that believes in the principles of supply and demand. Thusly, in some ways it makes sense to raise the prices of items when there is huge demand and low supply. But does it make sense to have two gas stations across from one another in a small town in New Jersey where one is charging $4.80 a gallon and the other charges $3.50? The numbers are brightly displayed for all to see. I assume the $4.80 is some form of price gouging which will not endear that gas station to many post-sandy. But does it even make sense to raise your price that much when your competitor is so much lower? To me it doesn’t make much common sense but then again, I don’t drive and perhaps the market will bear that enormous price hike.
Looting? Looting I have never understood. You are robbing from your own community, no? Again, that karma thing may just come back to bite ya as well.
Apparently, many parents have been calling their local municipalities to ask about whether Halloween activities such as trick or treating would be occurring. Again, really? New York City has been labeled a major disaster area. Parts of Westchester County are in the dark. You are worried about trick or treating? Are you not afraid of stepping on downed power lines? Also, why are you bothering local officials with those questions? I think they are busy with a few other priorities at the moment. Singer Paula Cole used to sing “where have all the cowboys gone” Indeed, and where has all the common sense gone? While we may have lost common sense, it does seem that we have gained charging stations Many stores brought in extension cords and the like to help people charge up-even non-customers. So, perhaps we have made a collective deal with the devil: instead of common sense we get charging stations. And, one last thing on common sense. This will not be the last bad storm we see. There will be more. Are we Are we in denial still that the earth seems to be going through some kind of change and we should be building up our infrastructure in response?
PS: Happy Halloween