I know how my parents felt now.
Watching Hurricane Sandy rip through the East Coast of the United States from a comfortable, dry and unthreatened space in Adelaide, South Australia, has been a daunting experience. And not knowing if family and friends in the path of fierce winds and flooding were safe was stressful.
Now I know how my parents felt on the many occasions when I was in New York and bad things happened. Bad things like the 911 terrorist attacks on the city and bad things like tornadoes in Brooklyn and snowstorms that cut power, halted the subways and closed schools.
Or bad things like when I had to have emergency open-heart surgery without any warning to them that something might be up.
Unsurprisingly, I have slept with my cell phone close by the past few nights, monitoring Twitter and Facebook and keeping tabs on friends and family through email. Thankfully everyone in my world in Brooklyn, Manhattan and New Jersey is alive and well and by now, suffering from cabin fever and frustration by cuts to power or water, or both.
But many others have lost their homes and businesses. Neighbourhoods like the lovely Red Hook on Brooklyn’s waterfront are in soggy ruins. I’d like to be there to take the short stroll from our old apartment in Carroll Gardens to Red Hook to help toss ruined possessions onto the mounting trash heaps on the sidewalk, or to help bail water from residents’ flooded basements but I’m on the other side of the world.
I know how my parents felt now. Helpless.
Americans are tough, New Yorkers especially so, and I know they’ll pull together for the rebuild because there is no other way.
All I can do is send good vibes and support.