The Storm of the Century

Posted on March 19, 2010

Let me start off by saying that I think I spoke too soon. Last week I was searching desperately for something to blog about, to almost no avail. Ultimately, I basically complained about the lack of compelling stories to share and wrote about it…certainly not my best work. Well, you know what they say…when it rains, it pours…and pour – it did!

Yes, it was about a week ago when the East Coast was hit with a storm the likes of which I had certainly never seen. With trees ripped from the ground, power lines down and homes and businesses suffering from water damage, I embarked on what became a 2.5 day nature induced vacation. People often ask me if I like the work that I do. Typically (unless, I’ve had an unusually rough day), I give the same answer – I am happy that I can wake up in the morning and know that I will have a good day at work…which is a lot more than I can for other people.

Though thankfully everyone I know personally were completely fine (even those whose houses had damage…items can be replaced) I realized just how much people really care. With the Areyvut office located in Bergenfield (a fairly hard hit area), there was no power in the office until late Wednesday afternoon…the first bit of kindness I experienced? Daniel texted me and told me to stay home…nice since I have a much longer commute than he does. Because all of the work I produce is done on my computer at work which is connected to a network, which of course was down because of the storm, I had a mini vacation for two days. (Note: The power didn’t come back on until Wed. evening, but I was scheduled to be at the Touro College Career Fair regardless of the storm.)

In a world where many people take many things for granted, “power” seemed to be the word of the week…at least in Bergen County. Many homes remained without power until late Thurs. afternoon. The people I met this week I classified into two categories…the haves (those with power) and the have nots (those nearly at the end of their ropes, wishing they did have power). Though it would have been easy for the “haves” to gloat about all the 21st century things they could do (watch tv, check email and use a microwave just to name a few) all of the ones I met were all too eager to help the “have nots”. From babysitting to cooking Shabbat meals to hosting indefinite sleepover parties, the “haves” truly came through this week.

While it was a wonderful thing to watch community members come together, it was also inspiring to see people come from far away to help those they never met, and even more likely, probably never see again. I’ll use the power outage at my sister’s home as an example – She was one of those homes that got power back just last night, after a long five days. The people that returned the power to her home was a crew from Ohio, here on assignment because of the outage backlog. To say that these people made a difference would be an understatement…yes, I realize that this may be their job, but by fixing the outage they didn’t just return the lights to the kitchen and bathroom, they returned normalcy to a community. (At least they started too…the cleanup continues…)

This is definitely a week I will remember because of the havoc it wreaked…but hopefully, in time, I will just be able to remember the people.

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