FEMA World Tour 2012

That would be Fred’s Emergency Management World Tour of 2012.  There have been different opening acts depending on which borough you caught the act but it was a great show.  During my evacuation when Hurricane Sandy hit, I was fortunate to have a friend take Remington and I in at her apartment in Brooklyn.

Before I tell you how this tour went down, I feel very sad about the devastation that took place throughout the Northeast – especially in New Jersey and Staten Island and other mysterious places I have never heard of. But, I am not going to recant what I said about the hype of the storm in last week’s blog. I am unapologetic about that.  I hope the hype saved some lives but the entire point of last week’s blog was the fact that despite the loss of lives and the amount of money this storm will ultimately end up costing, it pales in comparison to the amount of death, destruction, inconvenience and money that the diabetes and obesity epidemic cost us.  And, watching Governor Chris Christie do the amazing job he did and continues to do through this catastrophe, I am sorry but all I can think is how much weight he needs to lose.

Getting back to my saga.  So, the lights go out and I think – no problem – it’s Manhattan, they’ll be on by morning.  So I turn to my trusty ipad and start reading and wake up the next day and still no power and no internet and no cell service. I go out on the street to see all my neighbors and had to walk about 20 blocks to find a good cell site to make some calls and figure out what is going on.  I mean, I felt like I was in the show Revolution.  And the funniest thing was watching the people in my neighborhood have to tend to their own children.  It was like a scene from the Walking Dead with these parents who never see their children let alone care for them all walking around in a daze desperately searching for their nannies who were in the outer boroughs not able to get to the now isolated island of Manhattan. All the bridges and tunnels had been closed.

I was going to stay but carrying Remington up and down a pitch black stairwell wasn’t going to last long. And who knew how long it was going to be until some of those parents turned on me and thrust their child at me. I needed to go.

So, before it gets dark, I make the decision to head to the first stop on my FEMA tour: Brooklyn –Williamsburg in fact.  I thought it would be like a mini-vacation. So I pack up the car with a few essentials and high tail it to electric. All the hottest restaurants, bars, clothing stores are all there so I thought I would check out the scene.  I have only one thing to say – it is where the skinny jean went to die. It is the uniform. Being a refugee, I hadn’t packed mine so I felt inappropriate.  Call me crazy but leaving war torn Manhattan, sometimes you forget the fashion essentials – my fault I know but really.  Could they wear anything else? And pretentious is not the word for the bars and the restaurants where I ate coconut dust on one radish for 18 dollars.  What? I could have eaten the scraps from Remington’s bowl and been more full.

So, I drive to the office on Wednesday and kudos to my staff for showing up mostly but we got the place organized and I even saw some patients.  Thursday, the mayor announces you can’t get on the bridges without 3 people in the car so guess where I stayed – home.  The office remained open.  But, they did open up the subway in Queens so my friend who walked to her job on the Upper East Side the day before, I asked if she would let me drive her to Queens where she could get on a subway. I put the destination of the nearest subway stop into the nav system and it was 2.3 miles away.  Guess what – it took 2.3 hours round trip.  Part 2 of the FEMA tour.

I really needed to get to work on Friday as there were many patients to be seen.  So, my staff came from Astoria to pick me up so we would have three people in the car to get to Manhattan. Going home I had to take two subways to Astoria– Tour Stop 3 and then he and his wife drove me back to Brooklyn.

So, while I can poke fun at the inconveniences, I had nothing over what happened to some. But, what bothers me the most and continues to bother me the most is the insensitivity of those who were unaffected who lived blocks from each other.  It doesn’t affect me so why should I care? I had an entire week taken from my life and many others will take months before they are back to some semblance of normal.  Yet, people still put their needs first without even thinking that something may have happened to you.  It just reinforced my notion that dogs are sooooo much better than people.  Man’s inhumanity to man is something that I can never get over.

And to top it all off, I get home and nothing has been recorded on my DVR – in fact, it was wiped, and is still giving me grief.  I want to give a personal shout out to the sponsor of my FEMA Outer Borough World Tour – HULU! Can you imagine trying to remember everything I record in a given week and try to get that back on line? Honestly, me or someone in the Sudan– who has it worse?

Until next time….