I am writing this from my couch, a place I have spent most of the past two weeks, wearing a different combination of the same uniform: yoga pants and a t-shirt emblazoned with the name of a hotel brand. I went 11 days without applying mascara.
First, I had sinus surgery, and recovery meant sitting upright, watching the likes of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with a swatch of gauze attached to the crevice between nose and lip by surgical tape. Then, Sandy swooped in and wreaked havoc on New York City. Somehow, my lights never went off, and the TV stayed on, and instead of attempting to churn out well-detailed prose, I couldn’t take my eyes off the devastating images on the news.
Here I was, protected in my little bubble where the warm water never stopped flowing and the hot coffee never stopped being poured, and friends were combing the streets looking for open delis with flashlights, and strangers were searching for old photographs amid rubble that once used to be their homes. Diaper donations and checks towards recovery efforts are still not enough to assuage my survivor’s guilt when thinking of the burned out houses in the Rockaways, the destroyed boardwalk in Atlantic City, and those who still can’t move into their flooded abodes as a miserable Nor’easter slaps the city just a week later.
Spending much of these last two weeks working and chilling at home has given me a different perspective. Normally one to cram in as many social activities into an evening as possible, I found myself content curled up reading a book with MSNBC in the background, buying a candle from the organic spa across the street from my apartment, and ordering in samosas. It’s very easy to take the smallest pleasures for granted in our everyday life, until an unexpected travesty like Sandy knocks us off course and forces us to be alone with our selves in a stretch of disrupted hours normally filled with smooth subway rides and banter with colleagues.
I was lucky not only because I emerged from the hurricane completely unscathed, but because I’d like to think I’m one step closer to finding Zen.