NYC. Aug 27, Saturday night. As New York City sits back and braces for what’s been billed as one of the fantastical exposes of our times, the coming of Hurricane Irene, I’m peering out of my open bedroom window wondering how the soft pitter patter (for now) rain outside came to be euphemized as a demi god experience?
One thing you have to realize about living in New York is it’s always been a city of extremes. Extreme wealth, extreme poverty all on the same block, extreme heat, extreme cold all sometimes within the space of a season. But that in essence is the draw of NYC, where the possibility of life beyond the humdrum holds so much merit and fascination, and if you’re lucky and in the right place and have worked diligently you can reap the benefits of a type of dynamic rarely replicated anywhere else in the world.
Which may go some part towards explaining the fascination with what by now most media outlets have billed as the next hot impasse of our times sure to knock our socks off. And the truth is, as much as New Yorkers like to complain, and fear trepidation, we like to have our socks knocked off. To not have our socks knocked off would be to live a kind of anti climatic existence which doesn’t bode well for the heightened anticipations of what one reasons they can get out of the city.
Complicating matters this time has been the almost alarmist attention the press has been giving the foreboding storm. And if there’s one thing true about the media it loves to idolize and disavow its heroes and villains. For now I’m erring on the side that Hurricane Irene is a villain. But by tomorrow night when she finally bowls over she’ll more than likely be the sexy hot dame that tantalized us and left us a smidgen disappointed that we didn’t get to experience the type of rude shock that we were told to look out for.
For those of you who lived through the recent winter storm of 2011 many of you will still have the rancid memory of a city mired in tactical catastrophe. So wrong footed were officials about the prowess of those snow storms that by the time they came and left we were left dangling and incapacitated for weeks to come unable to deal with the sludge and rotting garbage that sat for weeks courtesy of a disaffected and disorganized sanitation department and of course a very embarrassed Mayor Bloomberg.
This time of course the mayor has gone out of his way to beseech us to get out of town if need be and buy as much stock for the monster bogey man that is on its way to nab us. And why not? With the mini earthquake tremors unsettling us in the city this past Wednesday not to mention the dismal economic situation the nation and city finds itself we’ve all been mobilized to prepare for the worst. Which is to say what optimism we used to have left the exhaust pipe a while back…
Then of course there’s the giddy delight of sitting through a horrible car accident and surviving it and then running over to the curb to see the tattered blood stains. It’s one of those awkward human condition things that has always compelled us to tragedy and the perverse.
That said, before we all get settled in for the idea of doom and gloom perhaps we ought to ask ourselves the following question: why is it that NYC generally never gets to experience hurricanes and tornadoes where as in the south and midwest it’s par for the course and nary a back page mention in the local press?
Something about the pressure zones on the north- east does a good job of disassembling such potential threats and I’m betting that as Hurricane Irene works its way through our backyard the sexy dame we’ve all come to fear will at best just be a thunderous tropical storm.
Me personally, I am prepared to sleep the night away with my bedroom windows wide open, obliged to the idea that’s what I all too often find compelling about the city. Which leads to the final question, will you be sleeping with your windows open or have you bought into the idea of tight boarding your house and your heart to the temperamental affairs of what makes living in a city like NYC so exhilarating in the first place?
Of course if the storm does get out of hand hopefully my next door neighbor wont mind me knocking on his door at the dead of night…