relief

it’s freezing cold out tonight while i am standing on the edge of the platform waiting for the F. all i can think about is the people who still don’t have power. something like 116,000 people in new york. i don’t know the numbers for new jersey or connecticut. it’s been 10 minutes and the train still hasn’t come. it’s late. i normally take a car back to queens from park slope this late at night, but tonight i’m taking the train because gas is so expensive. i have a monthly metrocard, so the trip has already been  paid. and it’s only $2.25.

finally on the train, two MTA workers enter. they are venting about how inconsiderate people have been. how unconscious. i believe it, though mostly i’ve seen compassion and cooperation. after listening to them for 5 minutes, i say, “you guys must be exhausted!” the guy looks at me, and i see his whole mood change. he looks relieved. he tells me how they’ve been working 8 hours on/8 hours off which gives him about 4 hours to sleep once he arrives home. other times when he’s not working he’s been going out to his brother’s house on long island to help clean up what’s left of his house. they get off at 34th st. i wonder how much sleep the train operators and bus drivers are getting. two hours after leaving park slope, i am home safely in my warm apartment.

obviously, it’s in the city’s best interest to take care of people who have been displaced. will the $50 billion they estimate it will cost get us to a place where things are better for everyone? or does $50 billion put a bandaid on it? will post hurricane sandy new york be more like the summer of ’77 new york? will new york be gritty again? why if we have the 17th largest economy in the world (if we were our own country), do we not have decent living for everyone? will the population of people living in the streets surge? will crime spike? will the rent go down?

it’s been really amazing to see occupy sandy at work. they are coming out and getting it done despite being derided as dirty lazy hippies. they seem to be doing the most and being the most organized.

i’m very excited that my mentor’s organization, fortunate blessings, will be coming to new york and new jersey after thanksgiving to do trauma relief work for children. taking care of mental health after a disaster is uber important. i guess taking care of mental health in general is important, but especially after traumatic events. there is certainly plenty of work to do.

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