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A Stillness before the Hurricane


8/27/11
It’s raining lightly outside, quiet except for the idling train which will make one of its last rides for the day. Stopping service on the LIRR is unprecedented. Services will be suspended at noon on MTA, Metro North and the subways are part of the plans to prepare for Hurricane Irene. Flights to and from New York and Philadelphia are cancelled. More than 2.6 million people will be affected. Most events in the area if not all events have been cancelled, including my nephew’s birthday party which was supposed to take place tomorrow. Our church sent an email to cancel service. But I’ve been trying to brush this off. Even yesterday morning on the commute into work I thought Ralph the conductor was overreacting when he said he bought a chunk of dry ice for the freezer, in case the power goes out. Then I learned Long Island is due for a direct hit. The center of the storm is supposed to strike. My mind slowly accepted the stark reality - this can be a cataclysmic event. As I type, I feel as though this could be some of the last words I share with you; since the experts are telling us this will be more severe than Hurricane Katrina. We have batteries and food. We have each other, but the idea of losing the roof or the siding is a possibility, I cannot accept losing my wife or children. I look at the trees outside and am taking before and after photographs in my mind. There are calls for mandatory evacuations in Jersey and parts of the coast of New York, including parts of the city and of course Long Island. Last night, when the president came on TV and warned us, “All indications point to this being an historic hurricane,” that's when I looked at Ali and said, "we're in for it." There has been some overreaction , The Jets cancelled their only free practice at Hofstra on Thursday, the bank was closed this morning. The county executives made robo calls on Thursday to be prepared for the hurricane. Before I started writing, there was a message from our home insurance company, warning us and to take preventive actions, bring in garbage cans – into the house or garage, and if you have to file a claim here’s the number to call. When I went to get my hair cut and planned to go to the bank, which I mentioned was closed. I passed stores that were taping their wide store front glass. One store was bordered up, a gas station ran out of gas and there are lines at the stations and the ATM machines. Get cash! Panic has settled into our summer. What will it be like after it passes? The experts agree it will hit us late tonight, so we’d be deep in sleep…maybe. Our shed outside will take a hit and I expect it will collapse and then I can see the old garage will go down. The furniture is removed off the deck, the gas tank for the grill is disconnected and in the garage and we wait. I have my beers and books. It’s quiet outside at 11:44 in the morning.

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