We were all warned: Hurricane Sandy was heading our way and it was our job to prepare for the worst. But no matter how many batteries or non perishables we bought, no one could have prepared us for the damage that was to come.
Living in Nassau County, I was luckier than others. My house lost power, but nothing was damaged. Sandy hit us the hardest Monday at around four PM. The winds were gusting, the house was shaking, and I was sure I was going to walk outside and see my car crushed under a tree. Luckily, my house was safe, but hundreds of people in our neighborhood were less fortunate. Sandy has destroyed Long Island so devastatingly that some people no longer have cars, some no longer have houses, and some no longer have lives.
Back in 2011 Hurricane Irene hit us with such minor damages, that many people thought Sandy would be no different. A lot of people refused to evacuate, and for that they suffered.
A friend of mine lives in Long Beach and her mother refused to leave her home. She now has a floating kitchen and five feet of water damage.
My cousin lives in Staten Island and was in Zone A for evacuations. They stayed, and even though they remained safe and sound, their neighbors were not so lucky. The boats that used to sit in the pier now are flipped over on people’s lawns. Houses are crushed, and people have lost all of their material items.
New Jersey by far had it the worst: there is no longer a Jersey Shore to GTL at, but Staten Island and Long Island have also gotten hit hard. Every summer my friends and I live at Tobay Beach, but Sandy tore through Ocean Parkway so badly that the rumor is there won’t be a beach to go to anymore.
I work in an Italian restaurant in my town, and in this past week alone, I have encountered thousands of people who are living in the dark, in the cold, and without a hot meal. While it was difficult for us to keep up with the mass crowds on Wednesday when we first opened, we were able to gather all the supplies we had left and ended up busier than ever.
While last week seemed fun at first (no school, woo!) it has become difficult to tell the days apart. I have now become used to seeing trees down and living with no power. The gas lines have been so insane that people are choosing violence over coming together as a community. As if six hour lines weren’t bad enough, one man in our town actually took out a hammer and threatened another guy, when he tried to take his place in line.
It doesn’t even feel like real life anymore; everyday I eat out and everyday I come home to a cold, dark home. While I’ve made more money than I have ever made before as a waitress, I have come to appreciate the fact that I can feed people a hot meal. There may be damages and there may be no more gas, but I keep telling myself that here in Bethpage, it could have been worse.
This is a time when we all need to work together. The hurricane might be over, but Sandy left her mark, and she doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon.
When I use my phone to access Facebook or Twitter, I get mad seeing people who don’t live here writing about going out, having fun, and living as if this disaster never happened. Then I stop and realize that when storms or tragedies like this happen in other parts of the world, or even other parts of the country, I go on with my life. I feel guilty that I don’t let these events affect me, because now it does affect me, and I can’t help but feel fortunate for all I have.
Everyone should get out and donate to Hurricane Sandy relief programs. Even if it is a can of soup or a blanket, people need your help. Having no power is simply an inconvenience, but some people have nothing left to their name. Do your part and lend a hand; we’re all affected by this hurricane, and now we can all affect someone else’s life.