It has been a weird week, a really weird week. Think back to last Thursday (yes, today is Wednesday), when we were first learning that this ridiculous-sounding monster-hybrid storm with the preposterously corny name of Sandy was headed to the Northeast with a promised impact on New York City. Back then, many of us were busily laughing in the face of it, knowing what we knew (nothing) from Irene, and meteorologists were busily warning us that this thing was no joke. There have been so many emotions since then! Disbelief, defensiveness, denial, and then realization. A kind of acceptance. Frustration. Fear. Making urgent preparations just in case, hoping that the worst was not to happen. Some of us left our homes in New York and around the Northeast, told that we were in harm's way. Then we waited, waited, waited, stuck inside alone or with sudden friends or, maybe, people we knew but suddenly were about to know a whole lot better. Impatience. Anger. We listened for gusts of wind that might blow out windows; we watched the Weather Channel and local news more than we'd watched it in years, we refreshed our news sites of choice and our Twitter near constantly, keeping our laptops and phones charged at all times, though, in case the power went out. Exhaustion.
For some of us, the power did go out, and has yet to return. When the cable went out for others, we reached for our portable, battery-operated or hand-cranked radios, and tuned in to what was going on in our city. Once the storm passed, we started to assess, waking up eagerly, nervously, to find out what we could. We listened to the instructions of our city leaders, and also to the stories of courage and also tragedy, trying to figure out what we could do to help, what we should do for ourselves, trying to return to some sense of normal in a suddenly abnormal world. While for some of us the return to some form of normal was easy, for others, still living in evacuation centers or plugging into random power sources in hotel lobbies around town, waiting to get into a Starbucks for Internet, normal is still a ways off. While the immediate fear and anxiety of what might happen is now over—now, we pretty much know, we can see—the hardest part is just getting started. Coping. As New Yorkers we move quickly from phase to phase, adapting to our surroundings, but this "in transition" part of post-Sandy life is not going to keep the pace to which we are accustomed. Things are going to be slow; fixes are going to take a while, there will be much blame laid and yelling and general crankiness throughout.