The One That Took a Week to Write
Cripes! It's taken me a week to write this post (I think if I hit "Save Draft" in Wordpress one more time, Wordpress is going to delete all my text and write, "Girl, give it up.") and it's September! September! SEPTEMBER!!! Monday: I know everyone is sick to death of hearing about Irene at this point (or dealing with her, as the case may be), but humor me for a bit. I feel like I need to write about this past weekend, if only so I can come back in a few years, reread this entry, and be totally boggled by how cray-cray New York City went for 48 hours.
Friday, Roommate J and I took the water taxi to Ikea since we had a list of Things We Really Needed, these being: a new cover for our couch, an area rug, and a coffee table.
We left the apartment before Mayor Bloomberg decided whether or not to issue mandatory evacuations for lower Manhattan and parts of the outer boroughs. To be perfectly honest, it was kind of a gorgeous day--breezy and cool. The only real sign that there was trouble ahead, I think, was the choppy waters on the East River as our faithful water taxi, Dolly, made her way to Brooklyn. I've been reading the Outlander series, as you know, and a good portion of the third book takes place on a ship, and I maybe got a little bit excited when the water was rough and we were rocking about, and I maybe started pretending like I was on a real ship, heading out to the high seas. Poor J just looked at me when I was all, "MAN. WOULDN'T IT HAVE BEEN SO COOL TO HAVE BEEN HERE IN THE 18TH CENTURY TO SEE THE REAL SHIPS COMING UP AND DOWN THE RIVER?!" And she was all, "Uh huh, why don't you go buy your ticket so I can pretend I don't know you for five minutes?"
(Actually, my favorite moment on the water taxi was when we were coming back and I was doing my whole, "It's white water, Pa!" routine, which is a really horrible joke from the movie How the West Was Won. When I tried to explain it to J, she was convinced I was talking about the Mary Kate and Ashley movie, How the West Was Fun.)
So we went to IKEA and we do what people are wont to do when they go to IKEA: we started adding more and more stuff to our original list of Things We Really Needed. I know I've mentioned this before, but our new kitchen is itty-bitty and doesn't have any drawers. It's also pretty narrow, which makes me feel like I'm tempting fate every time I try to use our stove. We found these cool bars we can install on the wall and hang doo-dahs off of, including little cups of silverware. Now we don't have to walk the three extra feet around the corner to get a fork! Huzzah. We also found some wall shelves for the living room, a bath rug, etc. What we didn't find: anything off our Things We Really Needed list. They did have couch covers for our couch model, but they were A) Hot pink B) This crazy lime green striped beast that maybe resembled a circus tent C) Black. Black wasn't a terrible option, but our living room doesn't have any windows, is small, and already has two tall black bookshelves and a big-ish TV unit, and we're kind of against the idea of turning our living room into the Batcave, so...
Tuesday Where did I leave off? OH! So after we left IKEA, I made Roommate J take a cab back to the Upper East Side, since I was ALSO kind of against lugging our heavy-ass/ginormous/twice-the-size-of-a-small-child IKEA bags on the subway during rush hour on Wall Street. By then, Mayor Bloomberg had decided that all of lower Manhattan needed to evacuation. Also by then: at least ten people had called/texted/Facebooked to ask if I was being evacuated. Well, friends, let me tell you--not only do we live well above the potential flood zones, our street is actually on a bit of a hill. So if the day should come that Manhattan does, indeed, flood, you can be sure that I will be safe and sound in my castle on the hill.
Wednesday Where was I going with this--ohhh, right. So, let me tell you something about myself before I get on with the story. I would say, for better or worse, I'm equal parts of my parents. I have a particularly nice blend of stubbornness from my mom's side and an almost manic drive from my dad's, which basically means that when I get some idea in my head, I can't be shaken from seeing it through. When my dad gets this way, my mom refers to it as "one of [his] moods." For me, at least, when I want to get something/do something, I just want it done NOW. I want to see it all the way through, as soon as humanly possible. So while Roommate J was like, "I think I'm going to take a nap..." when we got back to our apartment after IKEA, I was like, "HELL NO. WE ARE GOING TO TARGET AND WE ARE GOING TO BUY OURSELVES A FANCY COFFEE TABLE."
The closest Target to us is up in Harlem. And, in typical New Yorker hubris, I was like, "116th street? WALKABLE." even though we passed about four bus stops along the way. For whatever reason, my brain had processed the number of blocks we needed to walk as about 10, when in reality, it was about 30.
The Target up there is REALLY nice, and is a typical, normal person Target. By that I mean it's only one floor and is laid out exactly like you'd expect it to be. There's none of that two-cramped-floors B.S. that you get at the Brooklyn Target, or the crazy layout that looks like it was designed by a two-year-old with too much time on their hands. The whole shopping center up there is really nice, actually; there's a Costco and Old Navy and a number of other random stores that make it seem like it would be fun to walk around when it doesn't feel like we're on the verge of Armageddon.
Thursday So, okay, I like to think that New Yorkers can handle stressful situations fairly well. Sort of like, they have a slow-fuse when it comes to panic and freaking out because they're so numb to the noise/people/smells/lights that are constantly flashing around them. My unscientific estimate of the percentage of people Freaking the F Out to the Eye Rollers about Hurricane Irene was 20% vs. 80% before going to Target, and 70% vs. 30% after going.
Part of the problem is that there was just so much hype about the storm and all of the damage it was going to do. They shut down the subways(! This is what actually freaked me the F out a little bit) and Mayor Bloomberg started holding press conferences every five minutes to update everyone on the sitch in the city. It was media hype and overload, being told constantly by radio hosts and newscasters to stock up on water and non-perishable food because CLEARLY we were going to be roughing it for a few days without electricity and running water because OH-MY-GOD WHAT IF IT IS A CATEGORY THREE STORM AND WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO SWIM TO WORK ON MONDAY.
If you managed to avoid hearing and seeing all of the newscasters get a news boner about the possibility of massive destruction in NYC, then a sight like this in Target might have been enough to send a twinge of panic through your heart:
That being, of course, the bread aisle at Target. I only meant to pick up a couple of snacks to help me get through revisions, but when I saw multiple food aisles like this, all of a sudden I was all, I am going to starve. I am going to starve in my apartment because the only thing I have in my refrigerator is half a bar of Cracker Barrel cheddar cheese and sugar-free Jell-o. I'm not proud of this, friends, but I definitely went into scavenger-survivor mode. I kept hearing people say that the store and all of the grocery stores on the UES were completely out of water, which naturally made me EXTREMELY thirsty and panicky. I mean, I've trained by body to survive on Mountain Dew and Mountain Dew alone, but AHHHHHHH. Crazy-making.
Friday But, obviously, we got lucky and the storm sort of pooped out on us and gave a half-hearted shrug in our direction before moving on to destroy upstate New York and Vermont. I was up working on revisions until 4 or 5 AM that entire weekend, and I can honestly say that aside from some wind and five to ten minutes of heavy rain, it was nothing remarkable. The newscasters were very, very disappointed.
I think the thing that will stick with me most, though, is going outside on Sunday afternoon after the storm passed and seeing everyone slowly start trickling out again. There were branches and leaves everywhere, but it wasn't raining. Stores and movie theaters were closed, but a lot of restaurants opened and served brunch (the English have their tea, we have our brunch, I guess). Chipotle was, I'm happy to report, also open.
And now it's time for another weekend of revisions, so I'd better sign off. Happy Friday, happy weekend, happy September! xx