What a week it's been. The damage of this hurricane really took everyone by surprise. Were we all really that comfortable from the non-hurricane (at least for New Yorkers) that was Irene that we really didn't take Sandy seriously?
I've lived in NYC now for eight years. That's sort of a long time as a young adult, but I did not grow up here. I do not have roots here - I am only beginning to really create some solid roots, truly. I was three years too late for 9/11. It is possible that I have a terrible memory and am forgetting some event so great that my amnesia offends. But I don't think I've ever been in the midst of New Yorkers in grief.
And still, even post-Sandy, I am not really in the midst of grief. My small community is all accounted for - no losses. My apartment was able to retain power and no damage - though the winds Monday night were so loud that I moved all my furniture away from the window and tried to barricade it (I really thought car parts or tree branches were going to fly through my wall).
But when I look at pictures of the areas that did get heavily hit, it is sobering. Where there once was the Jersey shore, there now sits a roller coaster in the ocean. Below 40th street, people are looking for phone chargers or batteries. Hospitals are getting evacuated, bringing anxiety to the patients and their families. People wait in long lines to fill up their gas. The power outages - in a city that never sleeps, the darkness (and probably silence) is unfamiliar territory. And then, there are the bodies that are being discovered - many of them on Staten Island.
There are two different cities happening right now. Media like the NYTimes and The Daily Show has pointed this out - one city is in darkness and need of reconstruction - the other is wondering what to get for brunch. I see posts on my Facebook newsfeed from various fellow New Yorkers - some posts are frivolous banter while others pine for a shower. I actually got to see a taping of the Colbert Report this week. I posted a photo to my Instagram account, but deleted it seconds after it had been published. I felt torn about being able to enjoy something that others could not afford to even care about.
There is another polarity rising this week, after Mayor Bloomberg's announcement that the ING NYC Marathon is still on. My initial reaction frankly was not frustration but as I read others' opinions about the decision, I became more torn about my decision to still run. I thought the marathon would be a bright spot in the midst of devastation, but it is true that this sort of event is really is too soon. At the same time, our city has taken a big hit - and we could use a reason to cheer. I do think there is no good or right decision here.
For New Yorkers, Sandy really has ushered in conversation topics that allow for little middle ground. The hurricane either inconvenienced you - or it didn't. The marathon call is either something to go along with - or protest, especially as a participant.
I'm still going to run in the marathon. I actually would have been ok with it being cancelled (I actually think I could get injured on Sunday) - but it's still on and I am not going to protest this by not running. And my thoughts end there. I'm keeping them personal to me and will refrain from speaking for what I think is right for the other 45,000 people running in this race as well as the rest of the city as potential spectators. I've read some opinions that the NY Daily News obtained from random people (link). There are people for this marathon and there are people against it.
If my week had been any other way, I would defer and not run the race. But it's simple as this: the marathon is on, I've been given a week to rest at home (from the hurricane aftermath of all things), I've been training for a year, I have the opportunity - I'm doing it.