First of all, let’s fire the person or the agency or the committee that names tropical storms. Psychologically, it is difficult to get overly concerned about a storm named “Sandy.” Hurricane “Attila” or “Brunhilda,” might raise even a skeptical eyebrow, but lately, names like “Bob,” “Irene” and “Sandy,” while devastating in retrospect, seem to me at least, ill-named.
Still, the hatches at Rusty Hinge Road were well-battened in anticipation of Sandy. Townspeople, heeding media instructions, had instantly cleaned the local coffers out of bottled water and batteries. The sky, it appeared, was falling.
I had just started a new job at a new hospital and as a supervisor, I was mandated to clear my dance card until the whole thing blew over. This meant cots and blankets appeared out of nowhere and staff was expected to camp on site as well.
The wind was howling at breakfast as Sandy arrived. The governor closed the roads. Trees were uprooted. Power lines were down. At the hospital, staff had begun to call out, as expected, and those who were stranded on the units were plied with free food and copious caffeine. The generators kicked in.
Meanwhile, at Rusty Hinge Road, while the rest of the east coast was in the dark and underwater, the lights flickered a few times, and went out for about 15 minutes. There was water, heat and cable for the duration.
Around midnight, a staff member called in saying he’d come to work if he could get in. With the plethora of management on hand, I volunteered to drive north to pick him up. Once I made my way to the interstate, there was no traffic and no debris. The wind had died down and there was no rain.
In the 40 years that I have been a licensed driver, I have never had such a pleasant journey on the highway. Familiar cities were darkened and seemed almost non-existent as I cruised up I-95. Trucks had been banned and only crazy people were out driving. I saw one cop.
Now power is restored here about and it’ll take years to convert all the fallen trees into firewood. Around here, we are mostly lucky; elsewhere there was devastation.
Whatever name you give it, this kind of perfect storm surely restores humility.
It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.