current events

I Walk the Strip-Mall Line: In the Aftermath of Sandy (120 hrs & counting)

120 hours and counting.  By the end of this all, it will have been 288 hours.  Yes, 288 hours without power.  I will have gone through 12 days of trying to move forward without any light. I will have slept in 5 different cities in trying to keep warm.  I will have sought milk in countless stores, including Target, CVS and Costco.  I will have bitten all 10 fingernails all the way down from anxiety, boredom and general OCD. The latest research on nail-biting argues that it qualifies as an obsessive compulsive disorder and thusly, in the March 2013 revision of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) nail-biting will be joining hair pulling and other pathological grooming habits in the OCD classification.  Great, so on top of everything I now have OCD.  Thanks Sandy!

For our third hotel, we could only find one in a random town across the Tappan Zee Bridge, just off the highway, in a strip mall. That was the only hotel we could find available and we had to conserve gas as there has been major gas shortages. Behind our strip mall hotel, there is a Costco. At this Costco, there was actually gas. Thank god for warehouse, bulk-item filled, supermarkets.  However, the car lines were over three hours long.  See New Jersey is rationing gas. Today is the day that if you are odd- wait- I mean, if your license plate ends in an odd number you can wait hour upon hour to get gas. We couldn’t even line up for gas and thus we have had to conserve what little gas we had. Consequently, we went over and over again to the same three stores (Target, Christmas Tree Shoppe and TjMaxx) in the strip mall for our entertainment.  Or rather, we went to the same three stores in order to avoid a severe case of cabin fever.

We have eaten at the same two places, alternating between pizza and pancakes. I must say I am rather lucky to have only gained a pound thus far.   That may be due more to the fact that I am exercising twice a day on the treadmill and strip mall walking.  In case you have never encountered a strip mall- they are also known as also shopping plaza, shopping center- and are open-air shopping mall where the stores are arranged in a row, with a sidewalk in front.  Honestly, I wasn’t that familiar with strip malls until I lived in Atlanta, Georgia where you have a great mix of strip malls and strip joints, such as the Pink Pony.

Anyway, I have been walking the strip mall but it is getting windier and windier out there. I have taken to walking Target over and over again. Considering that the frozen food section is empty, some of my entertainment is gone. I am in a desperate search for Sarah Lee French Cheesecake. Has that been discontinued?  I did learn that the Christmas Tree Shoppe is not just for Christmas Items. There are cleaning supplies, toys and pajamas there, along with some canned goods. I guess Christmas villages need to be clean, well-fed and clothed? Interestingly, for me the roving social psychologist, I noticed that some of the items in the store indicate a thriving Jewish and Hispanic community nearby.  There was a Hanukkah section at the Christmas Tree store. Furthermore many of the toys that have names (such as frames that say “this is Joey’s room”) have names that I normally don’t see at Toy’s r Us such as Maria, Isabella, Diego, and Luis.

In one day I have eaten breakfast, lunch, and dinner at IHOP because for the span of three days we were hunkered down in a hotel located in a strip mall in the middle of a highway.  I have ended up with two dresses, a pink glow bouncy ball, a pink fake cell phone, pumpkin spice coffee syrup, graham crackers and coke. Coke Zero, that is. Wow, thanks Sandy.

At times we just didn’t have it within us to go to those stores and just watched nonstop cartoons and news coverage. And as result, I have gotten riled up about the conditions on Staten Island, the NYC Marathon and the fact that although there are no downed power lines on my block, and that our neighbors to the north and our neighbors to the south have electric power, my neighborhood is projected to not have power until next Saturday evening. Yes, Yes, that will be 288 hours without power.  I will have gone through 12 days of trying to move forward without any light.

I just came back from the walking the strip mall again. I’m tired, cold, hungry for fruits and vegetables and thirsty for a Basil Lime Daiquiri or any rum drink for that matter.  How about a Rum smoothie?  The weather reports are warning us New Yorkers that a Nor’easter may be coming this Wednesday or Thursday.  Great another reason for ConEd to not bring power back up. Seriously, It is worrisome that we may have another storm when so many people are displaced and begging for the infamous New Orleans FEMA trailers. Why is there no church or community center in this strip mall where we can all come together and prayer for those struggling so mightily?  Let us hope the best and that this Nor’easter does not come to fruition.

On my return from my strip mall walk, I am going to start packing up my stuff, that has been thrown all about this very small hotel room, so that I can move on to my next hotel. Yes, I am moving on to hotel number 4 in what will be a 12-day, 288-hour no power journey.  Is there a DSM diagnosis for this? Oh yes, that would be Sandyitis.

 

P.S.: I have a fondness for Johnny Cash songs. As sure as night is dark and day is light 
I keep you on my mind both day and night ..I walk the line…[for New York]

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