Written by Ronald Scaglia Friday, 09 November 2012 00:00
As the warm water fell upon my head, I can say that it felt like the most blissful moment of my life. After my home, like most on Long Island, lost power on Monday, I was left without heat or electricity, and most importantly the ability to wash my hair. Without electricity, my hair dryer would not operate, and I did not want to have a damp head in a house in which the temperature was getting close to dipping below forty degrees.
Fortunately, after two days of living like Daniel Boone, my aunt and uncle were gracious enough to invite both my parents and me to stay with them in the Bronx. They had heard of the devastation in Massapequa and were frantically trying to get in touch with us. However, not only did the landline phones go down, we were having difficulty getting a cell phone signal. So my uncle’s phone calls went unanswered for several days, until a signal became available and we were able to get the many voicemail messages that had been left.
That night, we ventured up to the Bronx, and I have never been so glad to get away from Long Island. I stayed in the apartment that my grandparents, who are both gone, had lived in. The shower is old, and it doesn’t even have a flexible head, but it mattered little. There was no greater feeling than the sensation of that warm water and shampoo hitting my scalp. Well, there was something else that was almost as good – seeing electrical outlets that actually supplied power. No more sitting in my car, running the engine, using up precious gas so the car charger could keep my phone powered. No more conserving the precious power left on my computer. Like a good reporter, I ventured out during the storm to get the story, and needed the battery power of my laptop to take notes, write the story and upload the photos. Now I did not have to conserve. An unlimited supply of electricity was available. I truly think that when I saw that outlet, I must have had the same feeling as a prospector who had discovered gold in 1849.
In addition to the comforts of an electrically powered home, both my parents and I enjoyed the chance to see my aunt and uncle. We shared some laughs, some good food and some funny recollections and I truly appreciate the hospitality they showed.
For those of you, who did not have power for more than a week, and had no place to get away from the devastation, my heart truly goes out to you. The week beginning October 27, 2012 was a horrible one for Long Island residents. And if you were one of the extremely unfortunate souls who had their homes destroyed by the hurricane, my thoughts and prayers go out to you even more. The only words of comfort that I can offer is that Long Island is comprised of great people, and your neighbors will help you in your struggle. With their help, and your own tenacity, as Governor Cuomo said, “We will rebuild it and we will rebuild it better than it was.”
My other thought through this whole ordeal is how much I hate the ’70s, both the 1870s and 1970s. When most of us lost power, we lived existences much like the 1870s, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that it’s not a pleasure. I’m not sure how those from that era got by. Perhaps they had it easier because they didn’t have electricity in the first place, so they didn’t know what they were missing. They also made accommodations such as wood burning stoves, and plenty of candles to help them get through the night – things we don’t usually need in the 21st century. So, if Doc Brown and Marty McFly appear on Long Island with their Delorean time machine, I will not ask them to take me to the 1870s.
I also won’t ask them to take me to the 1970s. I’ve been told about the long gas lines from the 1970s due to the energy crisis. In 2012, the storm knocked out power, disrupted supplies and created a similar experience. Waiting on a mile long line for an hour to fill up with gas is not a pleasure, but at least in the ’70s, drivers didn’t pay more than four dollars per gallon.
I’m very content with my 21st century existence, of course without the hurricanes. If Doc and Marty would like me to go back in time, the answer is an emphatic “No, thank you.” I like the technology and living conditions of 2012, just fine, at least before Sandy hit.
And again, for those of you who lost so much due to the storm, may God bless you.
Ron Scaglia is the Special Sections editor of Anton Newspapers.