Nov 042012

I feel really bad for all the people on the east coast who have no power. It’s a really shitty situation.

Back when I was living in California, we experienced earthquakes… duh. But the Northridge earthquake is something I will never forget. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning with things falling apart around me. My bed was bouncing up and down, things were falling off the walls and shattering, there was a rumbling noise like I’ve never heard. It only lasted for seconds but it seemed like an eternity while it was happening.

Immediately after the shaking was over, I was swathed in silence and it was a very curious sound (or lack of sound). I don’t think I ever realized that there is always sound. Even when everything is turned off there is sound. The hum of electricity surging through the millions of power lines, water running through the pipes & sewer systems. always creating sound in the background of the day/night. I sat in my driveway in the darkness and closed my eyes letting the silence invade me. It was so wonderful. Total silence, total darkness… such a peaceful experience. While others were running around in chaos trying to figure out what to do, how to do it, and panicked because they didn’t have television or video games or the other creature comforts we are so spoiled by, I stopped and really absorbed the moment. With all the hustle of Los Angeles, it was such a nice break. There truly was a sense of peace and solitude that I don’t reckon many in Southern California had ever experienced. It must’ve been a completely foreign feeling for them. )I imagine this must be a similar feeling for the people on the east coast)

Thankfully the weather was working in our favor. It wasn’t blazing hot, nor was it cold.

We didn’t have power or phones or suitable water for about a week. During that time, people were bitching & moaning – overall, terribly upset they were uncomfortable. Do you know what I was thinking? Aside from enjoying the peace & quiet, I was thinking of all the people who lived life in this way every single day. Every single day with no power, no food, no roof, no heat or AC. Although things were uncomfortable and I was feeling the lack of amenities which have spoiled me in life, I was grateful. It was a hardship but a temporary one. I decided I could be at peace with it for a few days, I could get creative figuring out how to sit in silence and be okay with it… it was only temporary, unlike the hundreds of thousands who live this way day in day out with no relief in sight.

I am filled with empathy for the people living through this current disaster. Sandy was a real bitch of a storm! I honestly feel very bad about the situation over there. But somewhere along the way, we the people have lost the ability to help ourselves. We have become largely dependent on others – the govt, the municipal offices, the county officials – to get us out of whatever predicament we are in. I lumped the masses together in that statement when in reality I do know that there are many, many people helping themselves and their community. I read stories in the news, on other blogs, on facebook about people helping each other.

And then I see people raging mad standing in front of a media van screaming with such anger “Where is the Government? Why haven’t they come to help me?” Those same people are standing in front of homes that are in some state of damage, trees are down, trash and other debris is scattered about. What we are shown in these reports is that nothing has been done. There is no evidence that anyone has started to gather up the debris into piles, remove branches that they can handle, and so on. Chop up some of that wood and build bon fires for heat. Gather together.

I get sort of perturbed when I see people raging mad because it’s taking time to get things working in the manner they have become accustomed to. I shouldn’t but I do. I want to tell them to put on their big girl/boy pants and figure it out. Figure out what you can do for yourself to get things back on track and more manageable until the others come to rescue you. Take some personal responsibility for the cleanup & begin your own recovery process. I know that sounds harsh and will probably make lots of people cringe as they read this, I’m sorry for that. Just remember – it’s temporary, this will get better, help will come. But it takes time. Lots & lots of time. It’s not like there is a single neighborhood in need of help, it’s thousands of miles populated by billions of people that are looking for help. That takes time and more resources than are available.

I apologize if I’ve offended you in anyway with my thoughts on this matter. It just breaks my heart that we, as a society, have become so dependent on others, so dependent on electronics and other things to live. There are people who think they are dying because they haven’t received help yet. Most won’t. Most people will survive this and will be living in a new and refurbished community. Just remember though, recovery on this scale takes years….. years. Look at New Orleans. Years.

Being an adult is like looking both ways before you cross the street and then getting hit by an airplane.

  One Response to “The Silence”

  1. And as you say, this temporary inconvenience is what life is about for far too many people. Those who never have enough food, and for whom electricity and clean water are almost unheard of and unimaginable luxuries. Sometimes I am ashamed to be human.

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