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January 29, 2015 / thackersam

January 28 – Snow Day!

Walrus snowOkay, so it was yesterday. I live in a high rise in downtown Manhattan. I have no car, therefore no driveway and any walkways in my complex are shoveled by others long before I step into the cold brisk air. There are no kids to entertain, except Max but he’s inside no matter what the outside world is like, the only difference being I’m home when I shouldn’t be. I could have walked over to the office even though it was closed, as the storm wasn’t quite as bad as predicted and my area was not hit hard. But I didn’t. The only thing I had to worry about was if the power went off. And it didn’t.

Power going off is not a good thing when you live on a high floor. The last and only time it happened in this apartment was during Super Storm Sandy. I was supposed to have my surgery the very day that Sandy hit. The ex had called the day before to tell me he thought I should cancel it. I had to laugh as I imagined him imagining me on the operating table with dim lights flickering on and off and a surgeon wearing a miner’s hat. I informed him that the Governor would have more of a say in that than I did, and besides, my wonderful round surgeon kept in touch with me before and after, as we did eventually have to reschedule it for the next week when they got their power back. It just so happened to be on the day we then got hit by a nor’easter that started that afternoon. I would like to now extol the virtues of my friend, the financially irresponsible one who had to move back to Connecticut recently, who was a most dedicated friend that afternoon, getting me home by finding the one available taxi during the snowstorm, getting my medication and buying the things that I could stomach after the anesthesia – a package of supermarket bagels and chocolate chip cookies. She stayed with me the entire night.

But, getting back to Sandy, my building is right on the river and a surge flooded the basement shorting out the power for about 700 apartments on that Monday evening. On Wednesday, when we heard that it was going to be another four days without electricity, I had to go downstairs. I needed more candles and a flashlight and thought I would walk to the office and use the phone to call my stepmother in Holland to let her know I was alright. It took 15 minutes to get to the ground floor and while it was doable, my legs were like rubber as I wobbled over to the office only to find that they were operating with limited power so the elevators were not running. I did find candles and a flashlight, and hung out a bit before attempting the climb back up to my apartment, which I was not looking forward to. I had only quit smoking about five months prior, but even when I was younger and barely smoking at all, I still didn’t do stairs well. A few others were using the stairs which were now dimly lit with emergency lights, and I was a little embarrassed having to stop every two floors to catch my breathe. Two men were approaching and the younger one scooted ahead while the older, older than me and pretty fat, stayed with me. Turns out he’s a vascular surgeon and instructed that when I started huffing and puffing every two flights, we would stop on the landing and chat until I could talk without gasping for air. We did that for near 30 flights until he departed on his floor two below mine. I got home with legs a’throbbin’ and stayed put until sometime in the wee hours of Friday morning when the light woke me from my sleep making me think it was sunrise. I looked toward the window with its blinds raised to take advantage of the lights of other apartment buildings, but it was still dark. There was no daylight coming in. It was coming from a lamp left on in my apartment. And so ended that saga.

The point of that story is yet another, but thankfully very short story about how the other day while going up to my apartment, the elevator stopped four floors below mine and while people were getting on I noticed it had indicated it was going to go back down. Now it could have been that I forgot to press the button as I work in a building where you press your floor number to summon the elevator and just get in so it can take you where you’re going, or the elevator just decided on its own that it didn’t want to go up that high. Either is a plausible explanation. So I got out and decided to just walk up the four floors. And – here comes the point – I did, and only became out of breathe when I neared my floor. I have now doubled my capacity to walk up stairs without getting winded. And I owe it all to rock ‘n roll.

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