Last Sunday, in my first blog after Hurricane Sandy, I indicated how fortunate I was to have never lost power in my home.
Well, that’s not entirely true. At about 5:30 p.m., while I was using my exercise bike in my basement during Sandy’s 55+ mph winds, the lights in my home flickered on and off. After a few moments, they turned off entirely, and it lasted for 30 seconds.
For 30 horrifying, panic-stricken seconds, I lost electricity. For that half of a minute, I immediately began contemplating how my life would resume with no lights, no electricity, no television, no Internet and no warmth. It was a period of catharsis, as I determined that I would brave out the darkness, and occupy my time with books and, well, more books.
During those 30 seconds, anything was possible. I rethought every decision I have ever made in my life, all while I was pedaling on my non-electrical exercise bike that was manufactured sometime in the early 90s, and is so antiquated that it barely even qualifies as an exercise tool. But I pedaled on nonetheless.
But before I could even continue the thought process any further, my lights came back on. Every thought about surviving the darkness vanished from my mind, and my inner monologue returned to its normal thoughts of television, Internet and DVR. I strolled back to my room and proceeded to turn on every light, blasted the TV, and loaded up some website that may or may not have been of the pornographic variety.
So that was my traumatic experience during Hurricane Sandy. That was my story to tell. My existence was severely unaffected by Hurricane Sandy. If anything, the superstorm made my life even more dull than it already is to begin with. My most exhilerating tale from the 48-hour period was walking twelve steps from my room to the bathroom to flush the toilet.
By Tuesday evening, when the dust had settled and Sandy evaporated back into the depths of our atmosphere, I hardly remembered that the hurricane even happened.
However, upon returning to work, and after watching the news, I heard that many people had — and are still having — a tad bit more of a rougher go during Hurricane Sandy than I did. Some people still, two weeks later, lack power in their homes. Some people are waiting for FEMA inspectors to arrive at their home to assess flood damage. Some people don’t even have homes to return to.
Meanwhile, my biggest complaint is that my DVR failed to record Dexter during Hurricane Sandy, and I was forced to watch it during the 11 p.m. replay. It was a horrible inconvenience.
That being said, my fortune during Hurricane Sandy is not unnoticed. I thank my lucky stars that my home was unaffected. And during even greater moments of reflection, another thought occurs to me — should I be doing something to help?
Amid the horror stories that this storm brought us, you also hear tales of bravery, triumph and heroism, as people are going above and beyond the call of duty to help others. On Facebook, I’ve noticed some of my friends who are single-handedly organizing fundraisers so that they could aid hurricane victims.
But what can I do? During times like this, one has to seriously ponder the reality of the situation, and determine what is feasibly within the realm of their capability. I suppose I can donate food, clothing and supplies to donation drives that are being held in local churches and firehouses. I suppose I can also invite friends and family into my home while they await their power to be restored. I suppose I can donate money to nonprofit relief organizations like the Red Cross or Island Harvest.
However, there’s one big deterrent that will probably prevent me from helping people. No, it’s not financial reasons. Nor is it spacial reasons within my home. My house is big enough to fit a few more bodies.
The overwhelming deterrent? I am a lazy son of a bitch.
I’m so lazy that I don’t even have the willpower to “like” Facebook statuses people post to support or encourage hurricane victims. I’m so lazy I didn’t even respond to text messages from people who asked me if I was okay after the hurricane struck.
And it’s not because I don’t care. I care a lot. I genuinely like a lot of people who I know that lost power, and who have lived the last two weeks as cave people. I truly like them.
I guess it’s just that age-old American attitude of, “I’m one person. What can I possibly do?” Obviously, that’s true to an extent. There’s not much I can really do. However, if I was motivated enough, I’m sure I can think of something.
Even right now, as I type this, I can stand up and do something. Whether it’s making a phone call or a dropping off a donation. But I’m not going to do it.
I’m not a sociopath. The stories of those affected and the footage on the news — it does have an effect on me. I watch and I become saddened. I feel for these people. But like 99% of those unaffected, I then change the channel and think about other things. It doesn’t make me a bad person, but it certainly doesn’t make me a philanthropist.
But hey, it could be worse. I could be among the small minority of people who are using the hurricane to their personal advantage, and actually trying to scam people. Whether it’s by seeking false donations or using business resources to initiate price gouging, there are plenty of people who are trying to benefit from this disaster. And it’s those people who are truly the scum of the earth.
At least my indifference isn’t actually harming people. At least I can put my head to my pillow at the end of the night and know that. My comfortable pillow in my cozy bedroom that’s perfectly radiated by my home’s electrically controlled temperature.
So, that’s that. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people in this world are like me, and are also too lazy to do anything. If everybody in the world was more altruistic and selfless, than our planet would have been salvaged long ago. But Earth is not comprised of billions of Nelson Mandelas. Very few people would spend 27 years of their life in prison to stand up for what they truly believe in. Instead, we’d rather worry about our own problems. Nothing is going to change that, sadly.
But I really do hope that this electrical fiasco is solved soon, though, and that hurricane victims can finally return to their own selfish, greedy, lazy-ass lives.
Just like the rest of us.