Along with downed power lines and flooding, Hurricane Irene left behind a new haves/have-nots dichotomy in our town: those with running water and those with bottled water.
More than 80% of our town is without power. Since most residents rely on well water (and an electric pump to move that water into our showers, washing machines and other glorious plumbing conveniences), about the same percentage has no running water. Looking around Panera Bread, one of the few places with power and (hallelujah) internet access, it’s easy to tell the lucky ones from the unwashed.
Everyone I know is fine and our house isn’t damaged. So we are extremely lucky. We are also inconvenienced, annoyed, slightly dehydrated, and (ahem) hygienically challenged.
I am lucky to have very generous friends with power and water, so we have been taking care of business there for the last couple of days. I am so grateful for them!
Here are a few other things to be grateful for:
- It’s a beautiful day. With no power trucks anywhere nearby, the birdsong is undampened by mechanical, power-restoring noise. So that’s nice.
- Sense of sarcasm—intact!
- Real live, paper-and-ink phone books – I forgot about those handy little guys!
- The computerized voice delivering the robocall update on recovery efforts. I didn’t like the message, but it was wonderful to hear a machine talk to me.
- Panera Bread letting me camp out long after my food and tea were gone!
- The friendliness of people in town. I am choosing to believe they are smiling out of solidarity and not because they hope I will offer them a hot shower (which I couldn’t do, anyway).
- A gas stove to boil water for tea. Thank goodness.
- The knowledge that this, too, shall pass.