Underwhelmed

         Like a crusty, resigned old Bolshevik in 1937, I went to bed last night wearing socks and positioning my shoes and prepare-to-be-a-nomad “Go-Bag” by the front door, warily expecting my sleep to be interrupted by the knock of fate…

       I’m exaggerating, of course, but fact is that I slept like a rock.  No whistling winds or the crash of trashcans blowing down the street and striking parked cards, no sirens, el zilcho.  The most irritating thing was the faint thudding bass of my neighbors’ techno (or whatever they call it these days) music, which I could only perceive from the living room after I turned lights out (prudently, they had decided to throw a hurricane party).  I slept in really late because I assumed I’d be house-bound, but right now it’s just overcast with some light wind.  Not even raining outside.

       No complaints from me!  Here’s to hoping it stays this way!  Maybe I can reschedule my afternoon appointments.

Blogging before Hurricane “Armageddon” Irene

   Update Sat 27th  8:51 pm   This time of night, this time of the year, the sidewalks and streets would be packed with pedestrians and people warming up to hit the night life.  Right now, it’s crickets and tumbleweeds out there–or at least as close to crickets and tumbleweeds as you’re going to get in this part of Manhattan.  Light showers, off and on, and the wind is picking up.

       I just finished (re)watching The Fog of War while lifting weights in the living room.  It’s one of my favorite films.  I’ve probably seen it seven, eight times.  I see something new in it each time.  I find Robert McNamara fascinating.  I read one of his books for a seminar and watched old videos of him I could find in the archives and online.  I relate to him a little bit, to how cerebral his personality is, his energy.  Of course, he was also about ten times more intelligent that I am, and sort of sociopathic.  Something I’ve noticed in the movie–from the very first viewing–is that if you discount the words coming out of his mouth and just tune in as much as possible on his emotions (not his intellectual intensity, but his emotions)–the only times he gets really sad and touched and tears up is when he’s talking about something that has to do with him personally.  Tokyo burning this, Cuban Missile Crisis that, lives lost, moralizing moralizing blah blah…his mind’s on fire, but he’s actually cool as a cucumber.  Guy was definitely fucked up. 
       Anyway, more about the storm later, if and when there is anything worth recording.

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          The local press has been going completely batshit about the hurricane that’s supposed to hit–to a greater or lesser degree–Saturday night/Sunday morning.  Bloomberg has given about about a hundred televised media conferences and and every local periodical is transmitting public service announcements with editorializing, the tones of which vary from wary to hysterical.  I was trying to observe the behaviors of city managers, the coordination of various municipal services/agencies (fire, EMS, etc), and the mechanisms of policy implementation from a detached, scholarly viewpoint, but I had to give up for the evening.  I’ve reached maximum saturation for today (bad pun, ha ha).

     Some of it contained real comedy, like the City of Hoboken sending out a tweet two days ago, before the panic began had begun to register: “Residents advised to prepare to vacate city if possible.”  That was like something out of Monty Python.  I would like very much to trace the origin of that tweet and be a fly on the wall of the office where that particular tweet was conceived and approved for public distribution. 

     The PSAs do contain some seriously scary shit, though–basically, “Put your passport and important papers in a plastic baggie and water and granola bars and your medications into your prepare-to-be-a-nomad backpack and KEEP IT READY TO GO!  And write your SSN on your body in permanent marker.”  (I am only kidding about the last part).

     The weather nerd blogs I’ve looked at claim that the press and the government are overreacting–and I certainly hope they are correct–but after Katrina, no public official wants to look like they were caught flat-footed if the worst occurs. 

      I might add that  I live literally at the border of potential Evacuation Area C (as the evac map reads now).  The landlord boarded up the lobby door windows.

      I stocked up on candles and changed the aquarium water just in case the electricity fails.  A lot of people I know in the neighborhood are moving to stay in other areas of the city.  I’ve got a hotel room reserved farther inland if it comes to that, but I don’t think it will.  And I’ve invited a few people who live closer to the water to come to my place if they need to evacuate. 

     The Surgeon is going nuts–I guess some of his properties are under mandatory evacuation and he’s gotta make sure the power is turned off in his McMansions and their hydroponic orchid greenhouses and swimming pools and porpoise tanks or whatever ridiculous stuff he has (“But what about the BOAT…?!”  I heard him wailing into his Blackberry while I was in the shower).  But he is highly strung in the best of circumstances and he’s not exactly…skeptical of media reports. I have never met someone with his intellect capable of such irrationality; I don’t understand how he got through med school. You should’ve seen the way he acted during the SARS scare and Bird Flu.  Killer bees, swine flu, you name it–the guy falls for every single one of them.  Personally, I don’t think he’s ever been the same since the stock market crashed in 2008–I think the stress of that caused him to have irreversible brain damage.  And people tell ME I’m too intense! He still found the time to drop by briefly and (among other things) bite the shit out of my back (I’m serious–I’d post pictures of the jaws-like injuries, but I’m worried that they could possibly be traced and matched to his dental records.  Ah, paranoia, the spice of life).  I’d like to think that it helped to relieve his stress, if only momentarily.  He did take a 10-minute nap afterward, which is truly exceptional behavior on his part. 

     Public transit stops tomorrow at noon.  There are cops and firemen everywhere around here posting and  warning businesses and private residences of what to do in the worst possible eventuality.

      In the event of a hurricane and a blackout, I’d love to shack up with an acquaintance–maybe Heinrich or an excellent masochist, and a few bottles of red wine–and maximize the storm’s potential for uber-dramatic recreational pursuits, but alas, it is not to be.

      Though I will be blogging live if anything truly heavy hits.  And if the power doesn’t go out.