I left my house at 8:25 this morning. Admittedly it was later than I had wanted, but I struggle to clear my head in the mornings these days.
I drove for a bit, to all the local gas stations. I even spent a few minutes on line at one. Then I had my friend Siri call to make sure they had gas. Nope. Off that line too.
I drove past a station with a line that seemed manageable. I asked a woman if they had gas. She cried. She said, ” I have been here since midnight waiting. The delivery just hasn’t come.”
I finally ended up at Costco. I knew they had gas. If you are not from Staten Island, it will mean nothing to you when I say that the line began at Richmond Avenue by Best Buy, wrapped around Forest hill Road, onto Richmond Avenue, and the BACK into the Costco lot. I estimated 4 hours when I got on. It was 9:42
Four hours in the gas line is a LONG time. I had more time alone with my thoughts than I like. Thankfully, I had the iPhone to keep me a bit busy. But in between games of scrabble, there was way too much time to think.
It was flat out unnerving, almost surreal to be on a gas line of this magnitude. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I just knew I needed a full tank to get me through the week, so I waited.
I thought about the hurricane. Hurrican Sandy. My mind wandered to Hurricane Katrina, and the news coverage I watched I remember feeling like it was so far away. No more.
The recovery efforts taking place miles from my home, in areas I have frequented my whole life. I thought about their homes, and then I thought about the people- returning to find their homes uninhabitable. And those who could get in, well – they had the job of a lifetime ahead of them.
I thought about the mother, whose 2 babies were ripped from her arms in the rising waters. The babies, safe in God’s hands. The mother – tormented for all of her days. I prayed one of the many prayers I pray for her each day.
I thought about friends from work. Their losses. One with a new baby on the way. Waiting to have the FEET of water that entered their home addressed. Others who suffered damage to their own homes, and the ones whose parents or relatives homes were destroyed.
I thought of the trees that make my neighborhood so spectacular – ripped from their roots.
It was a really long line. So I had time to reflect on the courage, strength and resiliency I have seen. I thought about the downed trees, and the friends STILL without power of heat.
I though about the looters, the liars, and those taking advantage of the tragedy. And I truly hope God has a place all picked out for them.
I thought about my little girl, and all she has gone through, and how she continues to make me so proud. Today she put some of her favorite stuffed animals in a bag, “For the kids who lost everything.’
And of course, all thoughts always return to Grandma. 92 years old – most of it spent right here on Staten Island. She and Pop married in 1945, and moved into their current home in 1956.
Grandma came home last night. Late. So there was confusion as to exactly where she was, but we hung together as a family and worked out some of the kinks last night. I was anxious to see her, and Pop.
I thought about this year. The magnitude of so many things taking place in such a seemingly short period of time, and I remember why I am so tired. The diagnosis of Cowden’s Syndrome – so permanent and life changing, and even on top of that, this year has seen surgeries, cancer, loss of loved ones, more cancer scares, natural disaster… and I am only getting started.
I will shop for Christmas, but mostly I want Christmas to come, because its time to celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus. We need something to celebrate.
1:35 (3 hours and 53 minutes) Hungry and tired, I pulled up to the pump. I don’t know – or care how much the gas cost. I only know my tank is full – at least for now.
Home for a quick shower, then right to Grandma.
Family. It always mattered a lot. It matters now more than ever.