[Update 7:34 a.m. Saturday] I wake up and stare out my window at a tableau of suspiciously still trees. Not a leave moves. The gray sky is brooding some yet-to-be-seen horror. I hear a bird chirp and think about what might become of these poor little chickadees when the storm hits. If they were pigeons, I wouldn’t much care; the pigeons in New York just look like a bunch of worthless fucked-up chickens that somehow survived the fallout of the A bomb. If Hurricane Irene wipes out the pigeon population of New York City, I’ll be fucking stoked. The rats, too. Dear sweet Jesus, take the rats. No, I’m thinking about sparrows and other avian charmers that likely had cameos in that scene in Cinderella where they’re waking her up out of bed and singing duets with her. Those kinds.
[Update 7:57 a.m. Saturday] I eat breakfast, the last meal I might have in my apartment while it is still one piece. Afterward, I make a salad out of all of the fresh vegetables I stupidly purchased yesterday that are now going to go to waste while I’m holed up at the St. Regis, finding refuge in foie gras and flutes of champagne.
[Update 8:37 a.m. Saturday] I consult my mother’s emails from the previous night.
Fill some water containers (your Brita and any big things like a big pot or container and maybe the bathtub ½ full in case). Pack a small bag too and leave it by the door just in case you have to run. Tennis shoes, snacks, a clean toothbrush and thong (hehe) and a jacket and hat. Think elementary school emergency backpack. Also, have some small bills ($1 and $5) and some change in a bag in case the electricity goes out. Nobody will be able to charge anything. Are you really prepared? Now I am getting concerned.
This one no longer applies, being that I am going to be staying at the St. Regis, though I am happy that my mother so kindly cited $1 and $5 bills as being my Small Bill Options, as I had contemplated getting a ton of $2 from the bank the previous day. And opposed to my clean toothbrush, I was thinking about bringing my dirty one. Phew. Crisis averted. I scan through to the next, hoping to procure some more Mommy Wisdom.
The emergency backpack still applies [at the St. Regis], AND know where all the emergency exits are (in the dark) and don’t stay high (fire safety). Take water and snacks, small bills (could be a big tipper gets the best food and water situation) and tennis shoes. The staff will want to be home not there so plan to take care of yourself just in case.
My mother should work for Mayor Bloomberg. Effectively terrified, I am now envisioning scenes from The Poseidon Adventure – the original one from the 70s, not the shitty remake – as well as the last two hours of Titanic, an analogy not lost on my St. Regis friend, who is actually able to quote a snide remark Billy Zane’s character makes regarding how half of the passengers will not be saved. “Not the better half,” she says in a later reenactment. We laugh, evil and victorious.
[Update 9:08 a.m. Saturday] I take this time to renew my renter’s insurance online. I had been pondering switching over for the last week, hoping to find a more competitive rate, but, hey, who’s got time for price shopping when your trees are about to get bashed in by the broken limbs of trees and 100 mph winds?
[Update 9:21 a.m. Saturday] I move all of my notebooks and journals to what will be the safest, driest place in my apartment if the hurricane is get in through broken windows. I hide a laptop in a closet, put books away in my dresser, and tie up my kitchen cabinets with black hair elastics, which might just be the knee-jerk reaction of a Southern California native used to earthquakes, not hurricanes.
[Update 9:39 a.m. Saturday] I pack for the St. Regis, which ends up looking more like I’m going on a delightful little vacay to the Hamptons than preparing for Armageddon. This hurricane requires one Philip Lim tunic, a Stella McCartney skirt (to be paired with a gray silk top), a leather jacket, some gym clothes, my passport, and my mother’s necklaces. I put on my outfit for the day: Stella shorts, white button-up tank, Alexander Wang leather vest, and a Jenni Kayne trench. If the ship’s going down, I’m at least going to look good.
[Update 10:15 a.m. Saturday] What was once such a grand idea to fill my fridge up is now a potentially smelly situation if the electricity is to go off while I’m on holiday uptown. Soymilk will be fine. Kale I can live with if it wilts for six days. The cheeses might be questionable. Yogurts will contain themselves until I can throw them away upon return to the homestead. My freezer, however, poses different problems: frozen salmon and frozen apple-chicken sausage, artifacts from moments when I actually envisioned cooking at home some months back. I call my mom.
“Hey, Mom. You think I should throw away the salmon in my freezer just in case the power goes off? That could be really gross.”
“Just leave it in the freezer; it will stay cold.”
“But what if it defrosts?”
“I think it’s going to be fine.”
“Whatever. I’ve had it for four months and haven’t used it.”
As an adult, I compulsively ask for my mother’s advice and then refuse to take it. The salmon, chicken sausage, and an icicle-encrusted tube of polenta get tossed into my garbage bin. I think about chucking the eggs in my fridge but decide against it – a fortuitous decision if there ever were one. Kind of like the time I realized that I had been putting money in a Roth IRA for the better part of 3 years without investing it – naively assuming that someone else was in charge of doing it for me. In the depths of the recession, after having heard my friends discuss their decimated mutual funds on multiple occasions, I went online only to realize I had been funneling money into what was essentially the underside of Fidelity’s proverbial mattress, at which point I invested all of it at rock bottom prices, proving that sometimes sometimes being a complete moron pays off.
[Update 11:02 Saturday] I tape my windows up with blue painter’s tape, smugly proud of the responsible adult I have become.