Hurricane Irene is coming to town. The thing is, I'm not terribly scared, nor am I not scared. You see, I've been through hurricanes before, and thus, I have a slight edge over many of my fellow New Yorkers. I know for example, that masking tape "x"s don't keep windows from shattering, and that storm windows in 100 mile per hour winds are actually no better than any others, just as I know that this isn't Armageddon, and a wall of water 30 stories high isn't about to sweep through Manhattan with biblical consequences. Then again, maybe it will. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not bemoaning my lack of an ark or collecting cooperative pigeons, but something about a storm of this magnitude actually fills me with something that just might pass for hope, (at least,if you don't look too hard).
It's been a terrible year; every time we turn on the news, some extremist somewhere is doing his or her damnedest to make life impossible for you and me, and corporations are strangling democracy to within a milimeter of its existence. Religious fanatics are citing recent earthquakes and economic turmoil as sure signs that "the beast" is afoot, and with a well intentioned but wishy washy Democratic incumbent going up against the likes of either Romney, Bachman or Palin, 2012 isn't looking so promising either.
Nevertheless, something about this hurricane business makes me smile a little bit. In about 20 minutes, our windows will rattle threateningly, our power may go out and we will be reduced to cold canned kidney beans for breakfast, but come Monday, the sun will rise. People will walk out their front doors, and having communally survived another near catastrophe, will actually say "excuse me" as they walk into me, their eyes glued to their iPhones. The news stand guy will smile as he refuses to look to see if he still has a copy of last weekend's Haaretz, and people will graciously acknowledge that I was at the bus stop before them, even as they elbow their way past me onto the 86 St. crosstown. For 5 minutes, New York will be glad the world is still here. At least until the next big scare.