We humans are amazingly resilient in the face of disaster. Or amazingly self-absorbed, depending on your perspective.
Polly and I were both well-within the sights of Superstorm Sandy, and yet we managed to escape her clutches not only completely unscathed but plus a few unplanned (and paid!) stretchy pants days. We didn’t even lose power; our days off work led to nothing more destructive than TV comas and deliciously disgusting food inventions.
Our biggest concerns in the aftermath of Sandy were browsing photos of the devastation online, discussing Chris Christie’s unprecedented praise of Obama and complaining to each other about the sheer amount of bored eating going on in our respective domiciles.
Is this resilience? Meh. It’s probably just detachment.
For me, at least, today is once again business as usual. (Or almost usual… two days off work and the entire region forgot how to drive, but that’s another story.) For Polly, Wednesday will be another day of stretchy-pants and DIY projects. For both of us, today will be another day spent viewing the disaster through lenses – photographs, videos, Facebook posts, and the text messaged reports of friends and family who are still in a state of unknowing – stranded, evacuated – unable to go home and unsure if they even have a home to go back to.
And what am I worried about?
The same trivial shit I was worried about when I woke up hungover on Sunday morning: getting in shape, boys, gas prices, what to have for dinner and whether or not Scandal will be new this week. Because you know what? The same stuff we were dealing with last week is still going on.
But we can make room to have concern for others, too.
We weren’t directly affected, but we can still make space amidst our continuing concerns to worry about those whose lives have been devastated. To offer help at the micro-level (going to assist friends with clean-up) and the macro-level (sending relief funds and supplies).
Honestly, though? There is nothing tangible I can do at the moment besides go back to work, continue be grateful that my area wasn’t harder hit, and reach out to my friends who might need or want assistance in the coming days and weeks.