Wednesday, November 7, 2012

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO

We haven't fully recovered from 5 days with no electricity -- no heat, no light. Even though the electricity has been turned back on, those 5 days still seem like a nightmare. We're awake, but we find ourselves wondering where we're heading. 

And  now, today we are recovering, from the November 6th  election.

For more than a year we have been bombarded daily with words -- words about how bad things are -- no point in my making a list of bad things, you've heard what I've heard. The bad things are still there. We are just waiting now, to see what happens next in Washington, D.C.

When my husband and I were in the dark for 5 days, we couldn't read by candlelight. We huddled in our green living room, sat below the skylight, and tried to read. I read through a play I'd written that's still on my mind, and tried to make cuts, hoping I could find the play's essence. My husband, John Cullum, read a play by Christopher Marlow, the playwright that many scholars think was, perhaps, as talented or more talented than Shakespeare.  While "working" we listened to the radio, wandered back and forth, in and out of the kitchen, nibbling on saltines, and popcorn.  

We ate what was in the refrigerator -- Chinese food leftovers, two apples, two pears, and some of the stuff in the freezer that was thawing. We ate a lot of noodle soup with sliced potatoes in it, and hard-boiled eggs. I lit candles and did my daily barre exercise. John washed the dishes, and kept the kitchen clean. The bathrooms were too cold for showering or taking a bath, but the toilets could be flushed. We ventured down our dark, four flights of stairs, and went outside twice.  Everything was closed. The sidewalks and the streets were empty.      

What was weird and still hangs over us is the boredom, the endless hours of being seriously restless, in a strange limbo where things we do everyday couldn't be done. We listened to station WNYC on a tiny battery radio. Other people who were affected by "Sandy" were calling the station,  and explaining how they were coping.

Each day as daylight started fading, we lit two candles, though we were concerned about running out of candles, and played "Crazy Eights," a card game.

In our area of Manhattan, the crisis is over.  We have lights and heat.  There's traffic and people on the street and sidewalks. We are back to doing what we normally do. John's a successful actor -- he's being considered and is considering other jobs.  I'm a writer  working on a blog. Today, we'll film a short video for my blog, and post it on AirBroadcasting, our YouTube channel.  Being self-employed, we're okay financially, but still haunted -- aware of how hellish it was for us, and still is for many, many people who are suffering, and still seriously impaired. The aftermath of "Sandy" has to be dealt with and will be dealt with as the days and weeks pass.

The election aftermath -- all those bad things on the list before the election, will be dealt with as time marches on. Will we, should we keep going over and over the issues, and wonder what Congress will or won't do? Or focus right now on ourselves -- work, habits, tidying things, shopping, social things, and family?


I'm thinking -- now is the time to figure out what's important, essential, the best thing for you. If you've figured it out,  or have been doing that for the past year or so, do it again.

Take care of you -- do it now.

.

8 comments:

Maureen Jacobs said...

My oldest sat in front of the TV last night waiting for the results. He is 11. I do see a wonderful future ahead. Seeing my son watching and riveted to the screen made me very optimistic. At that age, I would have been playing with my friends and surely not watching an election. Perhaps Sandy, the election, and other things in life as of late have caused the country to reflect on what is truly important. I know we have.

@Maureen_jacobs

Peggy Bechko said...

Excellent advice, Em, and coming from experience. I know what you mean about that weird, wandering, almost disconnected feeling. I, too have been there in storm's aftermath in FL.

And you're right - the best thing for you should take forefront. No matter how many times we call or write congresspeople (which, yes, we should do) it's the daily things that keep us going. Screaming politicians aren't it. Family, work you love, enjoyments and hard times, good friends and kind strangers. Those are the essentials we all deal with every day.

Anonymous said...

Natural disasters have a way of focussing the mind.
And they make us truly feel the suffering of others.
Co-operation, loyalty and absolute trustworthiness are the only solution.
Louise Sorensen
louise3anne twitter

Carola said...

Not being able to read is horrible. When we were without power for 5 days last winter that was what I missed the most.

Billy Ray Chitwood said...

Em and John,

Two billion dollars later, the election is over and we're back to where we were: same president, a Republican dominated House of Representatives, the legislative chamber, and a Democrat dominated Senate --- after all the mud-slinging, in some cases, out-right lies, we are back to an administration that did very little in the past four years. Will it be four more years of the same?

We can pray that it won't be the same. We can hope that investors will come back, start up businesses, create new jobs, and get the country rolling again. We can be confounded and dubious if our guy lost. We can be jubilant if our guy won. Either way, we all need to stay upbeat and positive --- we are the United States of America! Our demographics are changing. We're becoming more secular and more dependent on government for our needs. Guess that pleases some people.

Me, I have my constant sun, my constant sea, and my constant hope...yes, it sometimes wavers but not for long. I also have my writing and that is where I'm going now. The next four years will be what they are meant to be.

Regards to you both,

Billy Ray

Anonymous said...

Good blog today Em. Hard to imagine the stress
and boredom that you and JC went through those
5 days in NYC without power. My mom and I were without power for 5 hours once and about went bananas! It even affected my dog and cat, they were restless and scared moving around by candlelight. As far as the worries of today and the world-don't dwell on it. think positive things and stay open minded. Be yourself and feel blessed with what we each have. kam

Barnabus Bailey said...

This is an exceptional post, Em! Your very personal accounts of things like this are VERY important to share and my thanks to you.

My wife and I went through a similar event a few years back during the great snowstorm and had no power for four days. The initial hours were reactive. Candles, batteries, dragging logs in from the back yard for the fireplace. The next phase was the panic of being deprived of creature comforts, followed by sleeping under layer of comforters, fully clothed including hats and gloves. The next morning the beautiful sun. Still no road access and nothing was open. As the sunset, after just two scant days, the boredom turned into a 50 foot monster haunting both of us. When day three came a remarkable thing occurred. She and I got back to basics. Reading aloud to one another, much like John did, our favorite story books as children. Her's "Old Black Witch," mine "A Ghost Named Fred." We looked through photo albums, sorted through records and movies, tossed way old clothing into the fireplace, discussed how we would contribute through farming, water purification, bartering should the worst ever happen for real - sharing stories from our youth that neither had the pleasure of sharing before though eight years of marriage. By day four, we were flat out having a blast rediscovering one another and vowing (and we've kept it 4 years later)to continue our adventure time. Most of all, we realized that our discomfort was nothing compared to others who have to experience this daily.

When the lights finally did come on, it was almost a let down. It is these times of extreme struggle that I think mean the most between husband and wife. A true application of the bonds of love and partnership.

Thanks again for sharing yours!

kitjoegia said...

Yes know that feeling well of being in a thoughtful state of mind after a disaster.We went through that in 2010 after our local flooding.Moving all our belongings from downstairs upstairs and back again.We were the lucky ones.Glad you two used this opportunity wisely by reading even if it was a task!

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