via liberal japonicus
Hello Mr and Mrs America and all the ships at sea. The good doctor is fine but doesn't have the bandwidth to post this up, so she sent it as an email to the usual suspects and Japan time being what it is, I'm putting it up.
I've had an easier Sandy than most of the people in my area. We only lost power from 5pm Monday till 8am Tuesday, and then again all of yesterday afternoon (while they worked on the trunk line -- the entire town was out). And since we have a gas stove, we had a hot meal Monday night, and got through all 3 Lorien chapters of the Lord of the Rings -- Sprog the Elder used a book light to read aloud and did all the voices, including Galadriel's soliloquy to great effect. I also appreciated that she gave Haldir an accent, because he's speaking a language he's not used to.
But alas, our Internet connection went down on Tuesday and hasn't come back yet -- if this gets out, it'll be by way of using my husband's phone as a hotspot, a very thin and shaky pipe.
Here in central NJ we've luckily had very few deaths or injuries, so it's just an EPIC pain in the neck. Some of the towns have power, but not all: Princeton has some power, for instance, while Somerville looks to still be almost all dark. Schools are all closed, either because the school buildings don't yet have power, or because so many roads are blocked with trees and downed wires. I've *never* seen so many downed wires: even today, days after the storm, there are wires dangling alongside major roads -- so you can imagine what the side roads are like.
Many people still aren't back to work, so travel wouldn't be too bad -- except now the gas-hunters are out. Very few gas stations are open, so the ones that are have lines half a mile to a mile long -- or longer. "It looks like pictures from my history book", says StE, "the ones of that old Gas Crisis long ago." That would be the 1970s, pipsqueak. Yes, it's like that, except there's also a pump at each station dedicated to people on foot carrying gas containers. Thank goodness we reflexively filled up both cars over the weekend -- we won't need gas until next week, when I hope the status will be more quo. I haven't noticed gas price gouging -- but then, I *have* noticed police at all the open gas stations, directing traffic and keeping tempers in check.
Everyone you see looks exhausted, but not particularly traumatized: just worn with effort and cold. Luckily, it hasn't been below freezing at night, but temps in the 40s are no fun. Every time you go into a building that has reliable power there's a drift of people around the outlets, charging their laptops and phones. The grocery store I went into today had tables set up in the foyer with power strips on them to accommodate all the people.
I haven't encountered people getting angry, yet, about the pace of recovery: we can all see it working its way from the larger cities to the smaller, the larger roads to the smaller. And here in central NJ, we know we really didn't get hit *badly*, not compared to places on the shores, so people seem resigned to struggling along comparatively stoicly. At least for right now -- tempers will start to frazzle in areas that are still powerless on Election Day, or if we get temperatures below freezing.
I'm going to be a pollworker, as usual, so this election should be an *interesting* experience. All the voting machines in use in Mercer County, at least, can run on battery power if necessary, but I don't know if other counties may have to go to paper ballots.
Frankly, I really want Obama's 2nd term agenda to include another, better-targeted Stimulus bill, with *no* tax breaks but lots and LOTS of infrastructure spending. And also a climate change bill. And a pony ...