The first I heard of the impending onslaught was an email from my sister asking whether I had candles and blankets in case of a power outage. Unfortunately the storm had already started at this point, and I was quickly initiated into the world of hardship and deprivation when I ran to the 24-hour market downstairs to stock up on emergency supplies. I ran down the milk and bread aisles, both totally empty, but then I realized they always are because of lactose and carbs. I stared in shock at the prices: $24 for a flashlight, and $6 for a AA-battery? What kind of money-grubbing, price-gouging opportunists are they? I wondered, before realizing this too was an everyday thing. I phoned the artisanal candle store down the street and discovered they'd already sold out of lemon verbena. I stared in shock at the phone. How much worse could this get than being forced to smell geranium?
When I read my sister's mention of blankets a shiver ran down my spine. I tried to mentally tally exactly how many blankets I had, but when the figure stopped at two I nearly toppled over from shock. How could I have been so clueless, flying head-first into this toxic tempest so ill-prepared? Then I realized that duvets, afghans, throws and coverlets should probably be included and I steadied myself as my mental count surpassed sixty-five.
The storm walloped us exactly as predicted. While an alleged 28 inches of snow fell, at intersections where plows had pushed it all onto the sidewalks it reached nearly eight feet high. At least that's what the deliveryman said when he dropped off my squash-blossom tacos. I was like, Ohmigod, this really is a once-in-a-lifetime event we're living through here. I felt kind of bad because he was nearly blue and seriously shaking but I only tipped him a dollar. First, it's not like the storm wasn't bothering me, making all kinds of noise against my window and nearly drowning out Spotify at times, but also Lavanderia Express was coming later to drop off my laundry and I only had four singles to take care of them.
Thankfully, too, the residents of my apartment house were up to the challenge. Instead of freaking out, we all banded together in the face of adversity. I had a six-pack of ginger beer in my fridge but four ounces max of dark rum, and it turned out my neighbor had a whole bottle of rum, and another had just made a batch of tarragon bitters! I can't think of anything worse than going through the Storm Of The Century without a signature cocktail.
So, thanks to everyone for your concern. It turned out to be well-warranted: the storm was the second-largest in New York history. I'm proud to say I lived through it, though in these days of increased climate change I'm not sure if I will even again feel entirely secure. Ironically, though, that's not a complete disaster. Because when it comes down to it, there's nothing like the innate bond you feel with other people who've also had to put on a heavy jacket before venturing out to the roof deck. And because, as I've personally discovered, tough times bring out the toughest in people. At least I think that's the phrase: I've already had two Brooklyn Snow Ballers and if FreshDirect doesn't get their butts here quick there isn't going to be a third.