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The City That Never Sleeps Takes a Little Nap: A Hurricane Story

Posted Wednesday, November 7, 2012, at 8:44 PM

Part 1 - Preparations

On a Saturday in Brooklyn, as Sandy wound her way towards the east coast, two women desperately searched for important supplies. After several hours and much back and forth between crowded stores, they returned home with their vital items: a plastic pirate hook and foil to make Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte's signature grill. With a hurricane imminent, my roommate and I were kind of maybe sort of preparing for a Halloween party.

On Sunday, as rain threatened and branches began to ominously sway, we thought we'd buy some other items before the storm hit, just a few trifling articles like food, water, etc.

With hours left until the buses and subways were scheduled to close, we headed to Bobby's Department Store, an establishment to meet all your needs, provided those needs are inexpensive home goods and giant shampoos. Upon entering, we felt some mild pangs of regret for having frittered away our Saturday over questions like, "Would metallic paper plates make reasonable-looking gold medals?" and "Do you think a child-size pirate costume would fit a 24-year-old woman?"1 In short, it was a madhouse.

Pushing one's way through dozens of people as they rifle through giant bins of flashlights is always a joy and even more so when you not only need said flashlights, but basic housewares. Having just recently moved into our apartment, we had, to put it simply, nothing. Not a cup, a dish or even a lone spoon. So while others filled carts to the brim with lanterns and batteries and rushed to stand in the ever-lengthening lines, we casually browsed dish sets and flatware. If we're going to spend $28 on a 16-piece dish set, it needs to be the right 16-piece dish set, hurricane-force winds or no. And yes, we bought some candles and flashlights as well, after assuring their respective scents and colors fit with the desired mood of our apartment, of course.

As we stood in line,2 the air of the store heavy with tension and anxiety, neighborhood residents traded speculations on just what would happen to us in the next few days. The man in front of my roommate and I pontificated at length on why our particular nook of Brooklyn would, once the power went out, be one of the first to get it back. His assertions seemed well-thought out based on the information he had.3

After trudging back to our apartment and depositing our bags of dish detergent, silverware, and a giant shampoo or two, we went back out twice more, first to the grocery store and then to Target. Our most notable purchase was a 30-roll package of toilet paper, a non-sandpaper brand that, even on sale, was a splurge for us at $15.00. The storm could take our light, it could take our phone service, and maybe even our sanity, but there was no way it was taking away our ability to comfortably wipe our asses.

Did we end up losing power? Losing all our possessions to flooding? Did we even survive the storm?4 Most importantly, did our toilet paper in fact hold out?

Find out in the next exciting episode: "The City That Never Sleeps Takes a Nap: A Hurricane Story, Part 2" or "Sandy, Somewhat Less of a Pushover than Rizzo Made Her Out To Be."


1) It did and looked positively swashbuckling.

2) A New York Note on Pronunciation: For some reason, New Yorkers refer to waiting in a line of people as being not "in", but "on" line. My attempts to convince them that this, in fact, refers to internet connection and not the act of queuing up have been fruitless at best.

3) None

4) Spoiler: Yes


Comments
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Oh, definitely David Foster Wallace. Something's not worth writing unless you make your readers work for it and/or confuse the hell out of them.

-- Posted by aherbst on Thu, Aug 22, 2013, at 6:11 PM

So does your love of footnotes come from David Foster Wallace, Terry Pratchett or history textbooks?

-- Posted by Profzl on Wed, Aug 14, 2013, at 9:24 PM

I am a big fan of footnotes. Funny, cuz-in-law.

-- Posted by shayalderman on Wed, Nov 7, 2012, at 9:09 PM

Bahahahaha! Can't wait to read part 2! Miss you! Also, u must blog about your parents first trip to NYC over thanksgiving and will you please post some pics on fb of your apartment?

-- Posted by amandajane86 on Wed, Nov 7, 2012, at 8:56 PM


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Allyson Herbst blogs about the ups, downs, and all-arounds of a Cape Girardeau native recently relocated to the Big Apple. Allyson is a Cape Girardeau native and Central High graduate in her roaring twenties. She attended college in Minnesota, studied in Mexico and Ireland, spent a year in Bolivia and, perhaps most horrifyingly, then moved back in with her parents. For her next brash display of fickle youth, she has left America's Heartland for dusky, dank and electric New York City.
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