Sunday, August 28, 2011

How I Made Irene My Bitch - A Hurricane Survival Story

You cannot fear Mother Nature. You simply must make a choice. Will you or won’t you be a victim? It was around mid-day Friday that I made that choice for myself. Here is the epic, inspiring tale of how it all went down.

Friday 2:24 PM
I go to the grocery store. Not because I believe that civilization will soon devolve into some sort of post-apocalyptic Mad Max wasteland. I go simply because I am out of food and homo sapiens require food to survive.

I buy my usual groceries and then I stop to think. A hurricane is bearing down on us and the city will be shutting down. Should I be planning for the worst? Maybe. So I buy one candle and two six packs of beer. I buy some cookies too because, you know, I like cookies. Fuck Irene. I will conquer her. And I will conquer her with beer and cookies.

Friday 3:36 PM
I learn that all mass transit will stop running at noon on Saturday even though the bulk of the storm’s wrath will not arrive until around midnight. This angers me considerably because not only will I be missing the Mets game on Sunday, I also have tickets to the Giants/Jets game on Saturday…a game in a stadium I will now be unable to reach.

Friday 3:52 PM
I decide that twelve beers might not be enough for a one-man hurricane party, especially if I am locked in my apartment for several days. I also might be in the mood for a more sophisticated party so I go out and buy a bottle of Sancerre.

Friday 8:41 PM
I speak to a friend on the phone about how the excessive hurricane preparations are probably just Mayor Bloomberg overcompensating for the last blizzard that sodomized the city of New York on his watch. After such a politically damaging fiasco, here he was, flexing his muscles with mandatory evacuations and an unprecedented full-scale shutdown of all forms of public transportation.

Friday 9:02 PM
I learn that the Giants game is rescheduled for Monday evening. I smile and hop on Facebook, advising several people to get their canoe out of storage, put on their water-wings, find their snorkel or whatever other fairly obvious jokes I can muster. People typically respond with an ‘LOL’ followed by a clever retort of their own.

Saturday 9:42 AM
I put my air conditioner inside my apartment; more because of the annoying sound torrential rains makes on it than as a safety precaution. I eat breakfast and then sit down with a cup of coffee to start revising my latest screenplay.

Saturday 12:17 PM – 3:36PM
As I write, I bounce around the networks; NY1, CNN, FOX, and watch as the coverage becomes increasingly sensationalist. Reporters can no longer just report on the storm. They have to stand in the rain in the middle of a deserted highway while lamenting on how much rain the deserted neighborhood is getting. They have to wade waste-deep in the ocean to report on how much the ocean will rise when the storm hits. And every network has cutting-edge graphics; their own “Storm Watch” or “Eye on Irene” logo accompanied by ominous theme music.

Some people are refusing to evacuate and after several hours, I realize that all these subversive characters have two thing in common. They are all from Queens and they are all douchebags. They say things like “I built this castle so I gotta make sure it doesn’t float away” or “My house is a fortress, trust me.” Then I wonder if anyone would actually miss these knuckleheads were they to be swept away by a tsunami-esque storm surge.

Bloomberg comes on the air again, encouraging people to evacuate because, yes, the storm is going to be devastating and if we don’t follow directions, we will all surely die. Probably. Maybe.

Saturday 7:01 PM
I hear rain falling for the first time. I look outside and the tree in the courtyard is swaying with some zeal but nothing to get too worried about. I have a beer. Then I debate whether I should get drunk or get some work done. I decide to do both. But I won’t get too drunk because when my entire borough goes under water, I will need my wits. And I hear elevated BAC levels are found in most drownings…especially those that occur on the sidewalks of Queens.

Saturday 8:10 PM
Obama orders a State of Emergency for the Jersey Shore. I briefly consider how happy I would be if the entire cast of the Jersey Shore drowned and what an uplifting and climactic series finale that would make. Then I hear that a Tornado Warning was just issued. Yippeeee! 

Saturday 9:37 PM
I open my bottle of Sancerre and it is yummy. Sancerre never lets me down. Like tacos and masturbating, I always know it will leave me at least moderately satisfied. The rain and wind pick up but I remain, steadfast. Can you hear me Irene? Can you sense how unafraid of you I am? I continue blogging because…well, I am trapped here without many other options. 

Saturday 10:26 PM
Bloomberg makes another televised appearance. He tells me to stay in my apartment and move away from my window but when he starts giving instructions in his abysmal Spanish, I nod out. I come to when he recounts a cautionary tale about two nimrods that were kayaking in the East River. I briefly ponder natural selection and those that might not deserve the gift of life and then I pour myself another glass of wine. 

I decide to watch a movie and settle on some highbrow art house cinema, a film called   The Human Centipede.

To view the trailer, visit

Sunday 12:16 AM
Cabin fever, booze and the trauma of having just seen a really weird fucking movie prove too much for me. So I grab my camera, put on my bathing suit and go outside. I will meet Irene head on, with love and courage in my heart.

Sunday 2:21 AM
Two hours later, I am home. But…a breakthrough. As I wandered down a desolate Queens Blvd., I saw that my trusted bodega was open and I immediately glimpsed my destiny. After snapping a few shots with my camera, I bought a six-pack of Heineken cans (much safer than the bottles in my fridge) and set my sites on wining and dining Irene.

I opened a beer, shed my slicker, stored it and the rest of my beers on the steps of a nearby Temple and head out to begin wooing this tropical temptress. Vulnerability and intimacy would be key so I lied down in the eastbound express lane of Queens Blvd., where a fierce river was flowing. I slugged from my beer, inviting her to join me. She gusted at first; resisting my charms as her raindrops battered my topless torseau.

So I dialed it up a notch. I splashed around and, dare I say, I frolicked; seducing her with every childlike gesture. Before I knew it, the raindrops that moments before were stinging my face, were now caressing it, peppering my lips and cheeks with velveteen kisses. The wind had shifted from violent to purposeful.

She was spreading her legs for me, inviting me to enter her. Is it a coincidence that moments after I got home, they officially downgraded her from a Hurricane to a Tropical Storm? Hardly. I had broken her. By loving her.

Sunday 3:14 AM
Having subdued her, I kiss her goodnight and drift into REM sleep. Good night New York. Take care of my girl Irene for me.  

Sunday 9:30 AM
I wake up to hints of sunlight seeping through my window. The winds have subsided; only a breeze remains. Parts of Long Island, Staten Island, the Rockaways and Battery Park are flooded.

Property damage is sure to be high. Nobody knows when the transit will be operational again and roughly 72,000 New Yorkers are without power. 

Although I still have electricity, the damage in my neighborhood is cataclysmic. The tree that lost this twig may recover, it may not. Only time will tell. 

But every network is saying the same thing. It could have been a lot worse. Many will accredit this to meteorological factors but I think it’s clear what happened here.

Michael – 1     Irene – 0   

You’re welcome eastern seaboard. 

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