There's No Hurricane at My House and I Feel Weird About It


So, I’m in Seattle. We didn’t have a hurricane here. My shit is dry as fuck. But I work remotely for an NYC-based company, which means that pretty much all of my colleagues live in New York and have spent all week snorkeling to work in rat-drawn submersibles. I have electricity. I have central heat and an extra space heater pointed directly at my foot, JUST CUZ. I have so much electricity to burn that I’ve had Law & Order: Criminal Intent playing on my TV on mute all day and not even watching it (except when I accidentally sat on the remote just in time for Eames to say, “A phlebotomist of color named Eddie? How many could there BE!?”). And, anyway, I feel kind of shitty about it.

It’s weird to be on the other side of the country, snug and warm and mega-normal, while a massive catastrophe is crippling the lives of pretty much everyone I interact with all day long. The disconnect is confusing. I’m a party to, like, 14 different e-mail chains about who has cell service and who has heat and who has extra yogurt they need to get rid of and where the fuck are we going to run the blog from and hang in there, everyone! We’ll get through this! And I’m over here like, um. Caaaaan IIIIII…interest you guys in this humorous gif? It’s not technically food, but it might feed your spirit. Oh, you need electricity and internet to view humorous gifs? Right. My bad.

If I could, I would Gwaihir-King-of-the-Eagles over to NYC right now and crop-dust the whole place with snacks and tiny generators, but, you know, the constraints of physics and zoology. So instead, I’m just obsessing over storm coverage like you guys are me and I’m my mom and Hurricane Sandy is whether or not I’ve done my taxes. It feels like the least I can do.

Not that I have much of a choice. The storm isn’t just dominating the news cycle—it’s obliterated it. Of course there is other news going on (I’m sure there is, just like I’m sure there are other floods and other happy young people senselessly dying all over the world), but it just seems impossible to care about anything but Sandy. I don’t remember Katrina coverage being this all-encompassing, a discrepancy I have to at least partially attribute to the fact that Katrina affected exactly zero of Alec Baldwin’s luxurious mahogany manses. If you know what I’m saying. To a certain extent, we expect poverty and disaster in the American South—and especially in the Global South—because, broadly speaking, rich white people don’t live there. I mean, come on, the news is barely paying attention to people outside of Manhattan. So I also feel shitty about THAT.

And anyway, New York City? Don’t the fancies have ways to protect their stuff? Secret ways? Like, a ray or something? There’s this sense that New York is kind of indestructible, and it’s disorienting to watch the destruction of the indestructible. I’m not one of those mawkish “WE ARE ALL NEW YORKERS” types—I am most definitely not a New Yorker, and I wouldn’t claim to be to attach myself to a tragedy that isn’t mine. But the idea that even New York City isn’t safe from pissed-off Mother Nature is deeply sobering (especially for someone like me, who lives in between the toes of a gigantic volcano).

And then there’s everyone else outside of New York who’s been affected. Where to begin?

So, I’m not saying “poor me” or some shit—I’m doing good over here. Unlimited showers. I’m just saying…it’s weird. And I’m so sorry, storm people, if I forget for a second and accidentally complain to you about how hard it’s raining in Seattle, or how my pumpkin rotted, or how boring this Cupcake Wars marathon is (SO BORING IT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL). I’m really, really sorry. I can’t relate, I am not there, but I am thinking of you. Obsessively. Like a crazy person. Let me know if you need any gifs.

—Lindy West

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