One of the things I’ve always loved about New York City is the balancing act between the routine and the unexpected. The smooth action of swiping a Metrocard, the jingle of the door at your local bodega, the timing of the lights at a familiar intersection – these mundane acts get balanced against the extraordinary circumstances and events that pop up somewhat regularly in the life of a New Yorker.
It is a balance, though – and too much of either can bring away at your sense of being. And for the last month, my personal scales have basically been knocked over, with uncommon circumstances eliminating much of the routine from my life for a solid month.
Hurricane Sandy came and went at the end of October – a stronger and more noticeable storm than Irene last year. Having lost power and water and being told it was going to be a week before there would be restoration, we nearly fled the area for shelter with Katie’s parents. But our instincts to give it one final night before fleeing turned out to be wise, as the power snapped back on at 3 AM, sparring us from trying to uproot on short notice.
While our building was spared, our neighborhood was not, with many of our friends being out a week. Worse, the PATH train – so vital to getting into and out of Manhattan – remained closed with no word for a solid week. When service was finally restored, the three stations I need service to were not on the list. While walking to a station with service is a tolerable hassle, a 10PM service termination has made regular evenings out impossible.
As the train started to get back into service, the Red Bulls post-season ended unceremoniously, giving up a goal with 5 minutes left to their biggest rival. This was not so much of a surprise – the team has fallen out of the playoffs at this point nearly every year. But having my well worked routine of sports journalism end abruptly was just one more pain point in a month that was already going south.
And then came the sickness. Two weeks to the day after the storm hit, I came down with a dry, painful cough that seemed like it would be easily shaken. It would not, of course, and I spent the majority of the week in bed, coughing every few minutes. In the second week it transformed into muscle aches and a night cough which deprived Katie of what little sleep she could get.
Monday will mark four weeks from the day Sandy hit, and it only now feels like the balance is being restored. The sickness is mostly cleared, enough that karaoke last night didn’t kill me. The PATH just announced our stations are opening on weekdays again, which is a start.
The routine is coming back, just in time for some big crazy events to keep life interesting. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have my regular life back.