A Montclair woman recently admitted that she had never experienced or even imagined anything like Superstorm Sandy, which hit the East Coast of the United States on Monday, October 29. “It was the most amazing thing,” she said in a somewhat amazed voice. What amazes this Montclair woman, who prefers that her identity not be revealed, is that her front porch, long covered with pine needles (dropped out of the trees that line one side of her house) and oak leaves (from the tree that delineates her property from the sidewalk) was completely cleared of both leaves AND dust by the hurricane winds that swept Montclair on Monday. “I never imagined that winds could have such a strong impact,” she says. “I wonder, if I wait for another hurricane, whether there is the possibility that they could also move all the leaves off the lawn and onto the side of the road from where the town will pick them up.”
This hard working woman had been setting aside the chore of clearing her porch for the upcoming weekend, and now is left to her devices to seek another occupation on those days. In addition, she will have to now find something to occupy her days in the immediate future as the town in which she works has been devastated and going to work is not a possibility. “I haven’t had a moment to myself in months,” she says in a scared voice. “I’m not sure what to do with myself.”
This reporter, a little afraid for the nice woman’s sanity, tried to encourage some ideas. “What are some things you could do to while away the time you wait?”
“Well,” the woman answered, “I think I’ll either write a novel or learn to play the guitar. I meant to do my laundry, but have decided not to do that. You see, I think it’s best for me to be careful to maintain things in such a way that these events do not prove to be too much of a shock. So I’ve left my laundry piling up, a few dishes in the sink, and I’m deliberately not reading my mail. I’m thinking that if I keep up appearances of normalcy, I won’t be as thrown as I could be. As it is, things have been very strange. I’ve been forced to eat well because I only eat what’s in the fridge instead of having to eat school lunches that contain dairy products that I’m allergic to. (This Montclair woman has been a school teacher for 22 years.) My system is all upset from the organic leafy greens and whole grains instead of fake cheese products. Besides, it’s just weird not being exhausted all the time. I mean, it’s seven in the evening and I’m not even falling asleep or irritated. My head isn’t tight, and I don’t wake up in the morning feeling as if I’d like to cry because it’s so early. I just don’t know how I’m going to live like this.”
Superstorm Sandy has been responsible for a lot of things this week, but none so heart wrenching – in the opinion of this reporter – than this story of a woman left stranded with herself, unable to engage with the problems of other people, unable to distract herself from her household chores, unable to decide between a salad and a whole grain sandwich for lunch. Let’s just hope that she writes that novel, and that it will be ample compensation for the time to relax and the clean front porch.